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Workers ot All Countries, Unit el 





M ii - i ii w 



This translation has been made from the Russian text 
prepared for publication by the Institute of Marxism- 
Leninism of the Central Committee, C.P.S.U. 


P. N. Pospelou (editor), 

V. Y. yevgratov, V. Y. Zcv'm, L. P. llyichev, 

F. V. KonsUmthiov, A. P. Kosuhiikov, 

Z. A. Lyouina, C. D. Obichkhx, P. N. Fedoseyev 

B. H. Jl E H H H 


Ha aii2AuticKo.u ftptift 

First printing 1965 
Second piinting 1966 

Printed in the Union oi Soviet Socialist Republics 




Chapter One 


Heme and school-19. The shaping of revolutionary vicws-21. Revolutionary 
bnptism-2-I. In the Marxist study-circle -2G. The Samara pcriod-29. 

Chapter T w o 

Among the St. Petersburg proletariat-36. The ideological defeat of Narodisin-41. 
Exposing the bourgeois essence of "legal Marxism" -45. Lenin's trip abroad. His 
meetings with Plekhancv-48. The League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the 
Working Class-50. Behind prison bars-f>2. 

Chapter Three 

Exile. Arrival in Shushenskoye-56. The arrival of Krupskaya-59. Meetings with Fellow 
exiles-61. The tasks of the Russian Social Dcmocrals-62. The Development ol Capitalism 
in Riiss:a-G5. Against the revisionist critics of Marxism-69. The plan foi? a Marxist 

Chapter Four 


Preparations for founding an All-Russian newspapcr-76. "How the Spark Was Nearly 
ExlingLushecl"-79. "The Spark Will Kindle a Flame" '-80. Differences on the editorial 
board-86. "What Is To Be Done?"-S3. Iskra organisations in Russia-92. London, 
Paris. Ccneva-93. At the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.-97. The struggle within 
the Party after the Conejrcss-103. "One Stop Forward. Two Steps Bnck"'-104. The 
campaign for the convocation of the Third Congrcss-107. 


Chapter F iv e 


Bloody Sunday-!13. Lenin's assessment of the first Russian revolution- 114. The Third 
Party Congrcss-116. Two Tactics oi Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution-^ 
The growth of revolution in Russia-124. In revolutionary Russia-127. The armed 
uprising in Moscow-131. Against the Cadcls-133. Prorations for ihc Fourth (Unity) 
Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. At the Congress- 134. At workers" meetings. Hiding from 
the policc-138. Victory at the Fifth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.-143. After the cfup 
d'etat of June 3-146. 

Chapter Six 

After the defeat of the revolution-151. Lessons of ihc revoIution-132. The agra.i-n 
quc*tion-154. Against philosophical revisionism and reactionary philosophy-156. Vis.! 
to Capri-159. Materialism and Emp,rio-Criticism-i60. The Marxist theory of knowl- 
edge-161. Philosophical generalisation of new developments in the natural scienccs-164. 
Powerful theoretical wcapon-166. In ParU-168. Straggle to preserve and strengthen 
(he illegal revolutionary party-170. Against opportunism in the Second International- 177, 

Chapter Seven 


Offensive against tsarUm-182. Zvezda. The Longjumeau Party school-184. The Prague 
Conference-187. Lenin and Pravda-WL Prosveshcheniye-m. Lenin and the Duma 
group-202. The Cracow and Poronin Central Committee meetings-205. The fight for 
proletarian intcrnationalism-209. For party and working-class unity-213. The 
Brussels I.S.B. mccling-215. 

Chapter Eight 


Ienin arrested-220. Lenin's Manifesto on the war-221. Consolidating the Bolshevik 
forces-224. Lenin musters .he internationalist forces-231- Philosophical Notebook^. 
Against socialchauvinism-236. Lenin on the nature of wars in the imperialist era-23B. 
Imperialism, the Highest Stage of CcpUalism-241. The theory of socialist revolution-245. 
Zimmcrwald and Kienthal eonferencc5-21S. The right of nations to self-determina- 
tion-253. February revolution. Lenin returns to Russia-259. 

Chapter Nine 


Arrival in Pctrograd-265. The April Thescs-268. The Party approves Lemn s 
political lh.o-277. Close to the people-280. The First All-Russia Congress of 
Soviets-284, The June dcmonsU-atien-285. The July days-288. Lenin at Razliv. The 
Sixth Party Con a ress-293. Lenin goes to Helsingfors-298. The State and RevolutIon-102. 







Salvation from the impending catastrophe lies in socijlism-306. Lenin's call for 
insurrection-313. Historic meetings of the Central Committee on October 10 and 16-318. 
Before the assault-321. Leader of the uprising -324. Lenir.'s first dccrces-326. Lenin 
on the international significance of the October Revolution -330. 

Chapter Ten 


A new type of sUtesman-333. Defeat of the Kerensky ievolt-335. Rout of the capitulators 
and saboteurs-336. Creation of the new state machine-339. Introduction of socialist 
economic reforms-.343. Suppress the resistance of the expIciters-345. The dissolution of 
the Constituent Assembly. The Third Congress of Soviets 348. Efforts to withdraw from 
the war-350. Leninist principles of foreign policy-359. Lenin's study and flat in the 
Kremlin-362. Lenin's vivid oratory-365. The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Govem- 
meiit-367. First steps towards building the ccononry-373. The struggle for grain is a 
struggle for socialism-375. Culture for the pcople-378. Consolidation of Soviet power. 
The creation of the Red Army-3S0- Founder of the Soviet Constitution-382. 

Chapter Eleven 

Internal and external enemies of Soviet powcr-386. The struggle against the interven- 
tionists and Whitcs-388. Dastardly attempt on Lenin's lifc-389. The Proletarian 
Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky-391. Building up the Red Army-394. Everything 
for the front! Everything for victoryl-399. The Soviet Republic and the world prohv 
tariat-402. Founding of the Communist International-403. The Eighth Congress of Hie 
R.C.P.(B).-40<), Decisive victories of the Red Army-414. Theoretical problems of the 
transition petiod-419. A Great Beginning -423. Lenin's idea of Russia's elcclrifica- 
tion-425. Faith in the working class. Against the personality cult-429. " Lcll-wiug" 
Communism, an Infantile Disordcz-ASi- Second Congress of the Communist 
InternatiOnal-438- Defeat of the interventionists and the internal counter revo- 
lution- 447- 

Chapter Twelve 


Conversion to peace time construction-451. Lenin's GOELRO plan-453. Preparing for 
the New Economic Policy (NEP). The fight against th R oppcsition-457. Tenth Congress 
of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) -462. The New Economic Policy-465. 
Leninist principle of collective lcadcrshi P -469. Reorganisation of government bodies 
with stress on the economy-471. To learn communism-477. Concern for science and 
lcchnolcgy-483. Soviet art and litcrature-486. Matters of statehood-488. The peace 
champion-497. Third Congress of the Communist Intcrnatioaal-507. Economic retreat 
ends-511. First attnek of illness. Recovery and return to work-514. Safeguard the 
foreign trade monopoly-515. Founder of the Union of Soviet Socialist RepubliCs-518. 
Catch up and outstrip the capitalist ccuntrics-526. 


Chapter Thirteen 


Defying illncss-5.11. The political teslamcnl-533. Socialism slull win in the U.S.S.R.- 536. 
The main tasks of socialist construclion-539. Alliance between ihc working class and 
the peasants. Friendship of the peoplcs-542. System of Party and government 
cenlrel-546. Cherish Party unity-547. Development of the world revotution-533. At 
Corki-556. The death of Lenin-5G0. 

Chapter Fourteen 


History develops as Lenin prcdicted-566. Socialism is reality-569. All the peoples need 
peace-574. Leninism is the great banner of the struggle of the peoplcs-577, Lenin"s 
cause is unconqiterable-583, 



The Parly and Lenin 

are body and soul. 

Can body and soul 

be parted? 
Of (he Party we speak 

when u c speak 

of Lenin, 

Of Lenin we speak 

uhen nc speak of the Purlv. 


Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. His name is infinitely dear to hundreds of 
millions. From all over the vast Soviet Union, from every part of the 
earth, people of various races and nationalities flock to the Red Square in 
Moscow, to the Mausoleum, to pay homage to the memory of the wisest 
and most farsighted, the most unassuming and humane of men of our 

This name, known in the remotest corners of the globe, has become 
a guiding star to the working folk of all lands. It will live on in the 
hearts and minds of all progressive people, inspiring them to strive 
ceaselessly for peace and socialism, for a radiant future, a free and 
happy life, for brotherhood among men, for communism. 

From his early youth Lenin dedicated himself to the cause of the 
revolution, of the working class. His life was a daily feat in the service 

* From the poem Vlad'mriv Ilyich Lenin. 


of one supreme goal-the happiness of the working man. Of him it may 
be truly said in the words of Lermontov, the great Russian poet: 

One single thought his guide became. 
One passion fired him with its flame* 

Lenin's passion was to serve the people. 

Lenin lived to be the greatest of revolutionary leaders, a man who in 
a new era directed the' titanic struggle for "a radical transformation 
of the living conditions of the whole of mankind". This was no accident. 
He understood better than any other revolutionary leader that at the 
turn of the century history had confronted the young proletariat of 
Russia with a task more revolutionary than any of the immediate tasks 
facing the proletariat of other countries, namely, that of destroying the 
monster of tsarism which was then the bulwark of European and Asian 
reaction. Lenin foretold that the accomplishment of this political task 
would make the Russian proletariat the vanguard of the international 
revolutionary proletariat. In 1914, looking back on the results of the 
first Russian revolution (1905-07), which undermined and shook the 
foundations of the tsarist autocracy, Lenin wrote with legitimate 
national pride that the Russian nation, too, had created a revolutionary 
class and proved that "it can give mankind great examples of struggle 
for freedom and for socialism". 

One of the things that helped to form Lenin as a person and a 
revolutionary was the democratic and progressive views held by the 
Ulyanov family. Lenin's father came of the people. A fine teacher who 
worked indefatigably to advance public education, he shared the 
progressive ideas of the enlighteners of the sixties. Lenin was very fond 
of his elder brother Alexander, who introduced him to the traditions 
of revolutionary democracy and Marxist literature. Alexander Ulyanov 
was on the verge of renouncing the Narodnaya Volya** and adopting 
Marxism; he had come to realise that the downfall of the exploiter 
system and the triumph of socialism were historically inevitable. Lenin's 
mother, Maria Alexandrovna, was ever at her children's side in the 
trials of their revolutionary struggle. She was proud that her children 
were revolutionaries. 

It was at a very early age that Lenin became a convinced adherent 
of the revolutionary Marxist doctrine of the reorganisation of the 
world, a historical mission that was to be carried out by the working 
class. Lenin's activity in St Petersburg, particularly in the League of 
Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class,*** was a decisive 
factor in making him the leader of Russia's revolutionary proletariat. 
He took the lead in that great process which combined Marxism with 
the mass working-class movement in Russia. In St. Petersburg he 

* From Lermontov's poem Mtsiri. . . 

** Navodtmyu Volya (People's Will), a secret Narodnik society organised m Rus- 
sia In 1879 to fight the tsarist autocracy. 
*** See pp, 50-52. 


1 ecame friendly with I. Babushkin, whom he regarded as a national 
hero V. Shelgunov and other advanced workers who had become full- 
fledged socialists and were teaching socialism to the masses. 

Better than anyone else, Lenin perceived the titanic energy latent in 
the awakening mass movement of the Russian working class. He held 
that the political role of Russia's proletariat would far outweigh its 
numerical strength, its share in the total population of the country. He 
attached great importance to the high degree of concentration of the 
Russian working class in the large factories and industrial areas. 
Developing Marx's idea, expressed in 1856, about the possibility of 
combining the proletarian revolution with the "peasant war", Lenin 
made the important theoretical and political discovery that the alliance 
of the revolutionary proletariat and the labouring peasantry was the 
basic condition for the victory of the democratic and the socialist 
revolutions. This alliance, representing the vast majority of the 
population, would immeasurably enhance the political role of the 
proletariat. Lenin emphasised the key idea of the alliance of the working 
class and the peasantry in his 'early works, at the beginning of his 
revolutionary activity. It became a basic principle in the strategy and 
tactics of the Communist Party and in Lenin's theory of the socialist 
revolution. In his very first works, Lenin substantiated the idea of the 
leading role, the hegemony, of the proletariat in the democratic 
revolution; he showed that without this hegemony the decisive victory 
of the people over the autocracy, and the rapid development of the 
democratic revolution into the socialist revolution would be impossible. 
Lenin considered that after the victory of the socialist revolution the 
supreme principle of the dictatorship of the proletariat was to maintain 
and consolidate the alliance of the working class and the peasantry. 

Lenin's life was inseparable from the life and struggle of the 
Communist Party from the moment of its inception. He was the 
organiser and leader of the revolutionary Marxist party of Russia's 
proletariat. He clearly saw that great opportunities would open up in 
Russia for the victory of the revolution once the working-class movement 
was headed by a well-organised vanguard, by a revolutionary Marxist 
party. "Give us an organisation of revolutionaries, and we will overturn 
Russia!" was Lenin's impassioned appeal. Such an organisation, such 
a revolutionary Marxist vanguard of the working class in the shape of 
the Bolshevik Party, was brought into being under Lenin's leadership. 
Headed by Lenin, the Bolshevik party, "the intelligence, the honour and 
the conscience of our era", led the working class of Russia to victory 
in the Great October Socialist Revolution and placed it at the helm of 
the world's first socialist state. Lenin and the Leninist party created by 
the working class of Russia showed mankind the way to socialism and 
communism, not only in theory but in practice. 

Lenin not only adhered to Marx's doctrine but carried it forward. 
He developed Marx's revolutionary theory, which he brought into line 
with the conditions of the new era, the era of imperialism and 

proletarian revolutions, o£ mankind's transition from capitalism to 
socialism, and the building o£ a communist society. Marxism is 
inseparable from its continuation, Leninism. The three components ot 
Marxism-philosophy, political economy, and scientific communism 
were further developed, enriched and specified m Lenin s immoital 
works. Lenin answered all the cardinal questions which the new era 
posed before the working class, and with the flaming torch of Marxist 
theory lighted man's way to communism. 

The fact that Marxism-Leninism is now a generally accepted term is 
proof of Lenin's invaluable theoretical contribution to Marxist science. 
Marxism-Leninism is a great internationalist doctrine whose correctness 
is being more and more forcefully confirmed by the course of world 

Lenin waged an unrelenting struggle against deviations from the 
revolutionary essence of Marxism, from the class positions of the 
proletariat, and against revisionism and reformism. At the same time 
he vigorously combated all attempts to turn Marxism into a collection 
of dry, rigid formulas, divorced from reality, from practice. He was 
fond of repeating that Marxism was not a dogma but a guide to action; 
all his theoretical and organising activity confirms this idea. In all his 
works he approaches Marxism in a creative spirit, as an undying, 
developing doctrine which demands fidelity to principles but rejects 
all that is dogmatic and stereotyped, a doctrine which always demands 
that the actual historical conditions be taken into account. 

"Marxism demands that we should make a most precise and 
objectively verifiable analysis of the relation of classes and of the 
specific features of each historical situation," Lenin pointed out. "We 
Bolsheviks have always tried faithfully to meet this demand, which is 
absolutely necessary as a scientific foundation of policy," 

The creative development oE Marxist-Leninist theory is brilliantly 
exemplified in the documents and resolutions of the Twentieth, Twenty- 
First and Twenty-Second Congresses of the Communist Party of the 
Soviet Union, and the new Programme of the C.P.S.U. adopted by the 
Twenty-Second Congress of the Party, all of which have been highly 
assessed and fully approved by the international Communist and 
working-class movement. The new Programme of the C.P.S.U., which 
the fraternal Marxist-Leninist parties have named the Communist 
Manifesto of the present epoch, is a signal achievement of revolutionary 
theory. It upholds and carries forward the great ideas of Lenin. 

The vast significance of Marxism-Leninism and its creative character 
were stressed in the Declaration and Statement of the Meetings of 
Representatives of the Communist and Workers Parties, held in 1937 
and 1960. "Marxism-Leninism," says the Statement, "is a great integral 
revolutionary doctrine, the lodestar of the working class and working 
people of the whole world at all stages of their great battle for peace, 
freedom and a better life, for the establishment of the most just society, 
communism." The socialist commonwealth of nations, and the world 


Communist, working-class and liberation movements owe their achieve- 
ments to Marxism-Leninism. Only on the basis of Marxism-Leninism can 
the Communist and Workers' Parties accomplish the tasks facing them. 

By generalising the practical experience of socialist construction in 
the People's Democracies and of the working-class movement in the 
capitalist countries, the fraternal Communist and Workers' Parties are 
making a major contribution to Marxism-Leninism. 

Marxism-Leninism has become a powerful ideological instrument for 
refashioning the world. Adopted by millions, it has grown into a mighty 
material force. The entire course of historical development, particularly 
since the Great October Socialist Revolution, has demonstrated the 
vitality and invincible power of this doctrine. The great objectives 
boldly proclaimed by the Bolshevik party-to put an end to age-long 
oppression by landowners and capitalists, to establish a new and just 
socialist and communist social system in which the material and cultural 
standards of the working people will be fundamentally improved, to 
put an end to the imperialist war-called forth great revolutionary energy 
in the workers and peasants of Russia. 

Lenin's theoretical studies revealed the possibility of breaking the 
chain of world imperialism at its weakest link, and proved it was 
possible for socialism to be victorious at first in one country, or in 
several countries. In October 1917 the working class of Russia, under 
the leadership of Lenin and the Leninist party, translated this possibility 
into reality. Lenin refuted the opportunist dogmas of the Mensheviks, 
the servitors of capitalism, who alleged that a socialist revolution in 
Russia in 1917 was impossible in view of the country's backwardness, 
the inadequate development of its productive forces and the numerical 
weakness of its proletariat. The Mensheviks, Plekhanov among them, 
therefore called for peace between the classes and collaboration with 
the capitalists, the Ryabushinskys and Guchkovs, those tycoons of 
Russian capitalism, who arrogantly threatened to strangle the revolution 
with the "gaunt hand of famine". 

Lenin's revolutionary genius tore aside the veil of time and showed 
the path history would follow. He predicted that only after the domina- 
tion of the imperialists, the rule of the capitalists and landowners had 
been overthrown and the power of the working people established, 
would our country be able to make good its backwardness, catch up 
with the leading states and even outstrip them. Lenin's words have come 

Overcoming the incredible difficulties caused by the country's past 
backwardness, by the economic dislocation resulting from the First 
World War and foreign military intervention, and by the invasion of 
German fascism, the socialist social system has proved its invincible 
vitality, its tremendous advantages over the capitalist system. 

Who today would venture to speak of the "backwardness" of our 
country? Even communism's worst enemies are compelled to recognise 
the Soviet Union's breath-taking successes in economy, technology. 


science and culture, and the irresistible impact these successes are having 
on hundreds of millions of people all over the world. Bourgeois politicians 
and economists today admit that the Soviet Union has far outstripped 
the United States in rates of development and in the progress made in 
certain fields of science and technology. They acknowledge that the 
growing influence which the Soviet Union and the socialist community 
as a whole exert on the fortunes of mankind is due chiefly to the force 
of example, to the visual proof of what the peoples of the Soviet Union 
and the other socialist countries have achieved in a brief historical 

period, . . 

Lenin was convinced that socialism was a superior system, that it had 
immense potentialities, and that mankind had entered a new stage of 
development providing unprecedented opportunities. 

In the years when our country was just beginning to emerge from 
the economic chaos caused by the imperialist and civil wars, Lenin 
clearly saw the tremendous creative energies and opportunities which 
the October Revolution, and the Soviet state and social system, had 
given our people. Already then Lenin maintained that our country had 
all that was necessary and sufficient for building a complete socialist 
society- Socialist industrialisation of the country, priority development 
of heavy industry, organisation of the peasants into co-operatives, 
mechanisation of agriculture, and a cultural revolution-these were the 
principal ways, indicated by Lenin, of building a socialist society, which 
brought the U.S.S.R. to the complete and final victory of socialism. 

But the leader of the Party looked further ahead. On the eve of the 
October Revolution he foretold that socialism would gradually grow 
into communism, on whose banner would be inscribed, "From each 
according to his ability, to each according to his needs/' 

Lenin advanced the brilliant, programmatic formula of communism: 
"Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole 

Now that the Soviet people, inspired by the programme for the 
building of a communist socicty-a programme approved by the Party 
and the people-have embarked on communist construction, the most 
daring forecasts and most far-reaching plans of the great Lenin are 
being translated into reality. They are laid down in the Party's new 
Programme, which is a notable contribution to the theory of scientific 
communism. Under the leadership of the Leninist Central Committee of 
the Party the gigantic triple task set by the new Programme of the 
C.P.S.U -that of providing the material and technical basis for com - 
munism, shaping new, communist social relations, and educating a new 
man, the man of the communist epoch-is being tackled with bold 

The communist construction going on in the Soviet Union is^ of 
international significance. Lenin clearly visualised the future of socialism 
on an international scale. An ardent internationalist, he built up and 
put into practice the great idea of the equality and friendship of the 


peoples. He took an uncompromising stand against all national bigotry, 
against nationalism of any kind. His heart pulsed with a warm love 
for the man of toil and for the oppressed of all lands. The French 
metalworker and Finnish railwayman, the Polish peasant and Italian 
fisherman were as near and dear to him as the Russian, Chinese or 
Indian worker and peasant. The leader of the socialist revolution, as 
none other, understood and appreciated the awakening of the peoples 
of the East to political activity and to independent creative work as 
makers of history, peoples who for centuries had been oppressed by the 
colonialists, by the imperialist powers, and who, together with the 
peoples of the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries, account 
for the bulk o£ the world's population. 

Lenin made a profound Marxist analysis of imperialism as the last 
and highest stage of capitalism, and scientifically demonstrated that 
the capitalist system, by the objective laws of historical development, 
was on the decline, though it could still cause mankind much harm. In 
the closing years of his life Lenin declared with prophetic force that the 
complete victory of socialism over capitalism on a world scale was 
fully and absolutely certain. 

Beginning with the first decree of the October Revolution, the Decree 
on Peace, Lenin led the struggle of the young Soviet Republic for peace 
and friendship among peoples. Socialism means peace. In the socialist 
countries there are no exploiter classes who make fortunes out of war 
and arms drives. The socialist system is supremely humane. Hence the 
unflagging efforts of the Soviet state in defence of world peace. Lenin 
advanced and upheld the principles of peaceful coexistence and compe- 
tition between the two social systems, principles which the Communist 
Party and the Soviet Government consistently implement and promote. 

The inspiring ideas of Marxism-Leninism, the impressive example 
of the amazing achievements of socialist construction in the Soviet 
Union and throughout the world socialist system are having a growing 
impact on the entire course of human history. This impact is particularly 
great today, in the period of full-scale communist construction in our 
country, and will keep on growing. The establishment of the most just 
social systcm-a system giving man all the benefits and joys of life, a 
system which the finest and noblest minds dreamed of and which the 
working people aspired to spontaneously-will attract more and more 
people to communism throughout the world. 

The new Programme of the C.P.S.U. maintains, with the full authority 
of Leninist scientific prevision : 

"When the Soviet people will enjoy the blessings of communism, new 
hundreds of millions of people on earth will say: 'We are for commu- 
nism!' It is not through war with other countries, but by the example of 
a more perfect organisation of society, by rapid progress in developing 
the productive forces, the creation of ail conditions for the happiness 
and well-being of man, that the ideas of communism win the minds 
ar »d hearts of the masses. 

"The forces of social progress will inevitably grow in all countries, 
and this will assist the builders of communism in the Soviet Union." 

Capitalism as a social system is on the decline; it is doomed, and no 
amount of effort by its advocates can reverse the march of history. The 
future belongs to communism. Lenin's precepts and undying example 
inspire all working people to fight for man's happy future, for 

Lenin was the most lovable of men. His contemporaries, those who 
had the good fortune to know him well, say that in his personal 
qualities he was the prototype of the man of the future, of communist 
society. He combined great discernment and wisdom with disarming 
simplicity and modesty; sternness and an uncompromising attitude 
towards the enemies of the working class with a touching concern for 
comrades and a love for people and for children. He showed an unceas- 
ing care for the people's welfare, a passionate devotion to the cause of 
the Party and the working class, and a supreme conviction of the justice 
of this cause. "He's as simple as the truth itself," workers said about 
Lenin. He was a real leader of the new humanity. 

* * * 

This book tells the story of the life and work of Vladimir Ilyich 
Lenin, of his incredible energy and immortal, dynamic ideas, of his 
supreme devotion to the welfare of the Soviet people and the peoples 
of the world. 

In preparing, by decision of the C.C. of the C.P.S.U., the present, 
fuller biography of Lenin, the Institute of Marxism-Leninism and the 
authors have set out to record, besides purely biographical data, Lenin's 
most important guiding ideas. Lenin's ideological legacy, the immortal 
and fruitful Marxist-Leninist theory, has always inspired our Party 
and the fraternal Communist and Workers' Parties to great achievements 
in socialist and communist construction. 

The new edition of Lenin's biography draws more extensively than 
previous editions on the rich memoir literature of the period. The remi- 
niscences of Lenin's contemporaries and associates have yielded many 
interesting facts revealing to us Lenin the man, leader and comrade. 

Use has been made of material from the archives, of monographs, 
and of the biographies of Lenin published earlier. 

This edition of Lenin's biography includes important supplementary 
data bearing on the decisions of the historic Twenty-Second Congress 
of the C.P.S.U. In preparing it, account has also been taken of the 
valuable suggestions received from numerous readers, as well as of new 
facts obtained through a further study of documents and other material 
about Lenin's life and work. 

The authors express their heartfelt gratitude to all the Soviet and 
foreign readers who have sent in their comments and suggestions. 

Chapter One 

We stand entirely on the basis of Marx's tlk-mv: it wafl ihr 
first to transform bocialism from a Utopia into a science, to 
lay a iinn foundation for this science, and to indicate the 
path that inu-t b@ followed in further developing tfcis science 
and elaborating it in all ils parts, 


Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin) was born on April 10 (22),* 1870 

rW he V Vo Sim R rsk U1 ^ novsk )' ***** °" the great Russian 
11: 'nlrp-n hi " WaS b /° U9ht Up ' m a Russian intellectual family. 
H s> paients were raznochmtsi** Lenin's father, Ilya Nikolavevich 

SfaS ST h '°f " 3 °T r middle " class ^ Astrakhan. He got 

iow at an early age how difficult it was for one of the common 

hi dint of 1 a m c f ucat ] on : Struggling against poverty, he succeeded 
Up'v™ ll of a K WOrk f f nd ^eer ability in taking his degree at the 
U niversity of Kazan, after which he became a teacher of mathematics 

New Style, 

flMrSSBS ( drawn m ?rorn f ifWn^ ?8"2 *W *» Russian com- 
s rh« i r lU£US ' orawn ii m the small townsfolk, the clerqv, the merrh-mt 

' the distinct from those drawn from the nobility mCrChant 


and physics in the secondary schools of Penza and Nizhny Novgorod. 
For prolonged meritorious service he received a nobiliary rank, 

Ilya Ulyanov was, for his day, a man of progressive views that were 
close to the ideas of the Russian enlighteners of the sixties of the 
nineteenth century. Moved by lofty ideals, he dreamt of serving the 
common people and spreading knowledge among them. He gave up 
work as a teacher in 1869 and became inspector, and then director, ot 
elementary schools in Simbirsk Gubcrnia. An ardent believer in education 
for the people and himself a teacher by calling, he was in love with 
his work and gave it all his energies and knowledge. 

Ilya Ulyanov's work involved regular tours of the province. He spent 
weeks and months away from home, travelling from village to village. 
At all seasons-ill the freezing cold of winter, in spring with its slushy 
roads, and in foul autumn weather-he was to be found at the most 
out-of-the-way places, setting up schools and helping the teachers to 
organise instruction for the peasants' children. It was no easy job, and 
it took a heavy toil of his strength and health. He had to break down 
the resistance of government officials, landowners and kulaks, who tried 
to prevent such schools from being set up. No less hard was it to 
overcome the ignorance and prejudices of backward peasants, to make 
them see the necessity and usefulness of learning to read and write. 

Unaffected by the bureaucratic spirit of the time with its servility, 
careerism and disregard for the people, Ilya Ulyanov was a true 
democrat. He readily associated with the peasants and had many 
friendly talks with them. He could often be seen sitting on the doorstep 
of a peasant hut or addressing a rural gathering. 

Ilya Ulyanov devoted a good deal of his time and energy to the task 
of bringing learning within the reach of the non-Russian peoples 
inhabiting the Volga region. These peoples, then backward and 
oppressed by tsarism, inspired his deep respect and sympathy, and he 
spared no effort to organise schools for them. 

His efforts bore fruit. During his almost twenty years' work m 
Simbirsk Gubernia the number of schools there increased considerably. 
He had a large following of progressive-minded school-teachers, who 
were known as "Ulyanovites". 

Lenin's mother, Maria Alexandrovna, was the daughter of a physi- 
cian. Born and bred in the country, she was educated at home. Owing 
to straitened circumstances (her father had a large family), she was 
not able to continue her education, a thing which she always regretted. 
Being a highly gifted person, however, she mastered several foreign 
languages, which she afterwards taught to her children; she was very 
fond of music-she played the piano very well-and read a good deal. 
Later, by studying on her own, Maria Alexandrovna passed her exami- 
nations for elementary school-teacher. Like her husband, she was drawn 
to educational work, but she did not have a chance to do school work. 
The cares of a large family, bringing up the children, and the house- 
keeping took up the whole of her time. 


On vacation 
Drawing by N. Zhukov 

Home and school. The Ulyanovs were a close-knit, friendly family. 
Ilya Ulyanov was an exemplary and loving husband and father. There 
were six children in the family: Anna, Alexander, Vladimir, Olga, Dmitry 
and Maria. Their parents did their best to give them an all-round 
education, to bring them up to be honest, industrious and responsive 
to the needs of the people. It was no accident that the Ulyanov children 
grew up to be revolutionaries. 

The personal example set by their parents had a great influence on 
the children. They saw how much their father was doing for public 
education, how self-exacting he was, how seriously he took his responsi- 
bilities, and what happiness the opening of every new rural school gave 
him. Their father's whole life, his energy, his ability to throw himself 
wholeheartedly into the work he loved, his considerate attitude towards 
the common people, and his unassuming modesty in all things had a 
tremendous educative impact upon the children. He was greatly respected 
and loved by them. 

Ilya Ulyanov brought up his children according to the pedagogic 
views of the Russian revolutionary democrat N. Dobrolyubov. He 
cultivated in them character and an urge towards knowledge; he taught 
them to understand life, to be self-demanding, and responsible for their 
own actions. He inculcated sincerity and truthfulness upon his children. 

Ilya Ulyanov remained true to the high ideals of his youth all his 
life. He often read to his children the poems of his favourite poet 
Nekrasov, and loved to sing the proscribed verse of the Petrashcvist* 
poet Pleshcheyev, especially the words: 

Brothers in spirit, side by side 
In storm and battle do we stand 
And both will hate until our death 
Th' oppressors of our native land. 

The children felt that their father was putting his whole heart and 
soul into the song and that its words were sacred to him. 

Pleased though he was with the steady progress his children made at 
school, Ilya Ulyanov always spurred them on to still greater effort. He 
hated boastfulness and instilled the aversion to it into his children. He 
spent all his leisure with his family. The children felt at ease in their 
father's presence; he never waved aside their questions, and carefully 
explained things to them. He was an interesting and entertaining story- 

Maria Alexandrovna Ulyanova, too, had a rare gift for bringing up 
children. A woman of cheerful, equable temper, she never imposed 
unnecessary restraints upon the children, and yet contrived to maintain 
inc. Always neat, methodical, thrifty and modest, she was able 

Peimshevist-a member of a group of progressive Russian intellectuals which 
B»ste4 in St. Petersburg between 1845 and 1849. One of its founders was M. Buta- 
feudaUst s stem ^ Petrashevists werc opposed to the autocracy and the 


to pass all these qualities on to her children. This frail-looking woman 
possessed great courage, fortitude and selfless devotion, which she was 
often to display in later years when bitter trials fell to the lot of the 
Ulyanov family. 

The home environment and upbringing were favourable to the devel- 
opment of the children's minds and characters. The parents encouraged 
rather than checked the natural spirits of the children. When 
little Vladimir took it into his head to make a short cut to the street 
by using the window instead of the door-this happened in the village 
of Kokushkino, where they lived during the summer-his parents did 
not scold him for it. In fact, his father made little wooden steps on 
both sides of the window to enable the toddler to climb in and out 
without hurting himself. Once the older children decided to start a 
home journal. Everyone contributed to it as best he could. This journal, 
written out by hand and illustrated with caricatures depicting amusing 
incidents from home life, was great fun for everybody. The parents 
took a lively part in reading and discussing the journal. They directed 
their children's reading, subscribed to magazines for them, and very 
often the whole family gathered round to hear an interesting book read. 

The Ulyanovs took care to develop work habits in their children. 
They were taught at an early age to serve themselves and help their 
elders; the girls saw to it that the boys' clothes and their own were 
always in good condition. The Ulyanovs' house stood in a small garden 
which was lovingly tended by the mother, and all the children helped 
her with it. In the summer their job was to fill two big water-butts from 
the well. One of the boys would do the pumping while the rest carried 
the water round in buckets, watering-pots and pitchers. It was good 
teamwork which went with a gay swing. They also loved the family tea 
drinking in the garden. Alexander would carry the samovar, while the rest 
followed with chairs and the tea things. The tea over, the girls would 
help their mother to wash up, while the boys carried the chairs back 
into the house. The work was easy and everyone did his chores gladly, 

Vladimir's childhood was a happy, light-hearted one. He grew up a 
lively, healthy, fun-loving boy. Pie took after his father in looks, and 
inherited from him his jovial and sociable disposition. He was a tireless 
leader in all children's games and pastimes. From the reminiscences of 
relatives we know that he had a very keen sense of fair play and hated 
fights. "This is not playing, it's disgusting. You can count me out," he 
would say when a game ended up in a fight. Of an inquiring nature, he 
learned to read when he was five, and spent a good deal of time over 

From the age of nine to seventeen Vladimir attended the Gymnasium 
(grammar school) in Simbirsk. Already at that age he displayed the 
self-discipline and orderly habits that had been cultivated in him at 
home. Every morning, at seven sharp, he would leap out of bed without 
anyone wakening him, run out and wash, stripped to the waist, then 
make his bed. He always managed to repeat his lessons before break- 


fast, and half past eight found him at school, to which he had to walk 
several blocks. And so every day. He kept to this system throughout 
his eight years of school studies. 

Vladimir's abilities and industry revealed themselves immediately in 
school. A nimble, inquisitive mind, and a serious attitude towards his 
studies made him top scholar. He passed up from form to form with 
honours. He attracted notice by his orderly habits, his ability to go 
through with any job he had started, his genial character, and the 
sincere, simple way he treated his class-mates, whom he was always 
ready to help with a difficult lesson. He also had a reoutation of being 
a good swimmer, skater, and chess-player. 

The shaping of revolutionary views. Vladimir Ulyanov's childhood 
and youth coincided with a period when reaction in Russia reigned 
supreme. People were persecuted for every manifestation of free 
thinking. Lenin subsequently described that period as one of "unbridled 
incredibly senseless and brutal reaction".* Under these conditions all 
free thmking was banished from the schools as well. The Gymnasium 
therefore, was of no benefit to Lenin as far as the formation of his 
social ideals was concerned. 

Lenin's outlook during that early period of his youth crystallised 
under the influence of his upbringing at home and of his parents' 
example, under the influence of revolutionary-democratic literature 
and contact with the life of the people. He was also greatly influenced 
by his elder brother Alexander, who had been an incontestable authority 
to him ever since he was a child. Young Vladimir took after his brother- 
and whenever asked to take a decision he answered: "I'd do what 
Alexander would do." This desire to model his conduct on his elder 
tin?, w I not T r aL ' °? but I? thcr gaincd ^ater depth and meaning as 
M»rZ? n I?*-} 1 W ^ f i'° m AIexandei> th *t Vladimir first learned about 
£fcS ^ ^ Alexander ' s hands ^at he first saw 

gufshed 1 ?^ U /^r V ,T i? extrcmel y Sifted youth. He was distin- 
guished fi cm childhood for his strong will and moral fibre. "Alexander," 
bZ . na TCCalJs ' W3S an c *cc-Ptionally scrious and th htfuJ 

and kT^V T5 f r ° ng T** ° f duty - Not onl y firm but J"«t sensitive 

to"rh! m0ra i l intcgrit - y 1 of Alexander Ulyanov and his ideals of service 
sub e/'wi tf*A Sh ' ikingly i]1 ^tmted in a school essay of his on the 

^fi^^cr to make himscl£ uscfui to sodety 

and 1 ^ A Sel ?l t0 ] _ sodct y' £l P clson should be honest and hard-working, 
5J^bc mtelhgerit and know his business.... Honesty and a correct 

C °UecL L!T in ' f^fted Wbr&r, Vol. 1, p. 285. (References to V. I. renin's 
^JK 5 "^ hroughout to the English edition unless otherwise i dicatS 
reminiscences of Lenm by His Relatives, Moscow. 1956. p. 18. 


view of his duties towards those around him should be cultivated m a 
person from early youth, because these convictions will determine also 
the kind of work he will choose for himself and whether he will be 
guided in that choice by his usefulness to society or by a selfish sense 

of personal gain. ... . , . 

"A love of work should apply not only to what comes easy and is 
trivial but to things, which, at first sight, seem formidable. To be a 
truly useful member of society, a person should get so used to hard 
work as not to be daunted by any difficulties or obstacles either those 
presented by external circumstances or those presented by his own 
failings and' faults. For this purpose, he must be able to exercise self- 
control and develop in himself a firm and strong character. * 

Vladimir began to work out the meaning of things for himselt at an 
early age. A straightforward boy who could not stand lies or hypocrisy, 
he broke with religion. The spur was provided by an incident against 
which his whole being revolted. One day, in conversation with a guest, 
Ilva Ulyanov said that his children were poor church-goers. The guest 
said looking at Vladimir; "Give him the birch, don't spare itl The 
angered boy ran out of the house and, as a sign of protest, tore off the 
cross he wore round his neck. 

Observing life with a keen eye, Vladimir saw the poverty the people 
were living in, and the oppression and exploitation the workers and 
peasants were undergoing. He listened attentively to his father's stories 
about the ignorance that reigned in the countryside, about the tyranny 
cf the authorities, and the squalor and misery of the peasantry. Coming 
into contact as he did with working people, he could not help noticing 
the humiliating condition of the Chuvashes, Mordvimans, Tatars, 
Udmurts and other disfranchised non-Russian nationalities. All this 
aroused in him burning hatred for the oppressors of the people. 

His sympathy for the peoples oppressed by tsarism is seen from the 
following fact. In his senior forms at the Gymnasium, he coached the 
teacher of a Chuvash school by the name of N. Okhotnikov, who wanted 
to take his examination for a school-leaving certificate. A Chuvash by 
nationality and a man endowed with considerable mathematical gifts, 
Okhotnikov longed to receive a higher education but was unable to 
prepare on his own for the examination, which included the ancient 
languages, and he could not afford to hire a teacher. On hearing of the 
man's predicament, Vladimir undertook to coach him free of charge, 
and did so regularly, three times a week, for eighteen months. 
Okhotnikov passed his examination and received his certificate, which 
enabled him to enter the university. 

In his quest of solutions to the problems besetting him, Vladimir did 
a great deal of reading. Among his favourite authors were Pushkin, 
Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Nckrasov, Salty kov-Shchedrin and Tolstoi. 

* Alexander Uyich Ulyanov and the Case ol March 1, 1887, Collected Articles, 
Russ. ed., Moscow-Leningrad, 1927, pp. 126-27. 


absorbed the revolutionary spirit of the writings of Belinsky, Herzen, 
rfernyshevsky, Dobrolyubov and Pisarev. The writings of these 
volutionary democrats roused in him a hatred for the social and 
1 oHtical system of tsarist Russia, and helped to form his revolutionary 
P nvictions, young Lenin was a great admirer of the poets who 
C ontributed to the satirical magazine Iskva, one of the leading 
C u blications f the revolutionary-democratic trend, which came out 
against feudal-minded reaction and the liberalism of the nobility and 
the bourgeoisie. , 

The boy's revolutionary sentiments were reflected even m nis scnooi 
essays. On one occasion the headmaster of the Gymnasium, F. Kerensky 
(the father of A. Kerensky, head of the bourgeois Provisional Government 
in 1917)- who had always held Ulyanov's work up as an example to the 
other pupils, returned an essay to him with the warning: "What are these 
oppressed classes you've written about here? Where do they come in?" 

Life dealt Vladimir severe blows when he was still very young. His 
father died suddenly in January 1886, at the age of 54. Scarcely had 
the family recovered from this blow when another struck them- 
Alexander was arrested in St. Petersburg on March 1, 1887, for his 
part in the attempt to assassinate Tsar Alexander III. Shortly afterwards 
Anna, who was studying in St. Petersburg, was arrested too. 

No one in the family had known about Alexander's revolutionary 
activities. He was a brilliant student at the St. Petersburg University, 
where his researches in zoology and chemistry had attracted the 
attention of eminent scientists. One of his papers on zoology, written 
in his third year, was awarded a gold medal. He gave promise of 
becoming a professor. On his last summer holiday at home he spent all 
his time on his thesis and seemed to be completely absorbed in his 
studies. No one knew that he was a member of the study-circles of the 
revolutionary youth in St. Petersburg and conducted political propaganda 
among the workers. Ideologically, he stood midway between the 
Narodnaya Volya and Marxism. 

A relative of the family wrote to Simbirsk about the arrest of 
Alexander and Anna, but fearing for Maria Alexandrovna, she sent the 
letter to the school-teacher V. Kashkadamova, a close friend of the 
Ulyanov family. This woman immediately sent for Vladimir, who was 
at school, and showed him the letter. "He frowned, and for a long 
time said nothing," Kashkadamova wrote in her reminiscences. " 'This 
is serious/ he said at last. 'It may end badly for Alexander.' "* Vladimir 
was faced with the difficult task of breaking the sad news to his mother 
and giving her moral support at this trying hour. 

The news spread swiftly in Simbirsk. The town's liberal "society" 
were quick to shun the Ulyanov family. That was when young Lenin 
had his first real glimpse of the cowardly face of the liberal intellectual. 

* Alexander Ilyich Ulyanov and the Case oi March 1, 1887, Collected Articles, 
R «ss. ed., Moscow-Leningrad, 1927, p. 274. 


Maria Alexandrovna attended the trial of Alexander and his 
comrades, and heard her son's ardent speech in which he fearlessly 
denounced the autocracy and spoke about the historically inevitable 
victory of the new social order-socialism. 

"I was surprised how well Alexander spoke/' she told her daughter 
Anna. "He was so convincing and eloquent. I never thought he could 
speak like that. But it was more than I could bear, and I had to leave 
the courtroom before he finished."* 

On May 8, 1887, Alexander Ulyanov, at the age ot 21, was executed 
by the tsarist hangmen. His brother's execution was a great shock to 
Vladimir, but at the same time it confirmed him in his revolutionary 
views, Anna Ulyanova-Yelizarova wrote these stirring words about the 
two brothers: "Alexander Ulyanov died the death of a hero, and the 
halo of his revolutionary martyrdom lighted the path for his younger 
brother Vladimir."** 

While paying tribute to the noble memory of his brother and his 
intrepid spirit, Lenin rejected the path of terrorism which Alexander 
had chosen. "No, we won't take that path," he decided. "That isn't the 
path to take." 

In those tragic days Lenin's self-command and fortitude were revealed 
at their best. Numbed by sorrow, he found the strength to go on with 
his studies and passed his school-leaving examination brilliantly. The 
youngest boy in his form, he was the only one among the graduates to 
receive a gold medal. The school authorities were in two minds about 
giving a medal to the brother of an executed "state criminal". But 
Lenin's outstanding abilities and profound knowledge were too obvious 
to be ignored. The character given by the headmaster stated: "Highly 
capable, hardworking and painstaking, Ulyanov was top scholar in all 
forms, and upon finishing school has been awarded a gold medal as 
the most deserving pupil in regard to progress, development and 

Revolutionary baptism. The Ulyanov family left Simbirsk at the end 
of June 1887. They lived till August in the village of Kokushkino (now 
Lenino), forty vcrsts from Kazan (in a house belonging to the 
grandfather on the mother's side and inherited after his death by 
his daughters), and then moved to Kazan, where Lenin entered the 
university (faculty of law). Being resolved to dedicate himself to the 
revolutionary struggle, he wanted to make a study of the social 
sciences. "These days," he said, "one musL study law and political 

Lenin was not admitted into the university at once. The university 
authorities were afraid to take the responsibility of enrolling him, His 
application was marked as follows: "Defer pending receipt of a 

* Alexander llyich Ulyanov and the Case oi March 1, 1887, Russ, cd., p. 122. 
** Reminiscences ot Lenin by His Relatives, Moscow, 1956, p. 23. 
*** Molodaya Gvardia No. 1. 1924, p. 89. 
**** N. Veretennikov. Volodya Ulyanov, Russ. ed., Moscow, 1960, p. 60. 


character." And it was not until an excellent testimonial was received 
from the Simbirsk Gymnasium that he was enrolled in the university. 

In the Kazan University Lenin became an active member of the illegal 
Samara-Simbirsk Club. The tsarist authorities banned every kind of 
student organisation, membership of which was punishable by expulsion 
under the University Statutes of 1884. It was a time when spying and 
snooping were rife in the universities of Russia. Lenin got in touch 
with the progressive-minded students and took an active part in the 
revolutionary students' circle, which the police described as a coterie 
of "an extremely pernicious trend". 

Students took a resolute stand against police persecution in the 
universities. On December 4, 1887, the students held a meeting in the 
assembly hall ^ of the Kazan University. They demanded that the 
reactionary University Statutes be repealed, that student societies be 
permitted, that students who had been expelled be reinstated and those 
responsible for their expulsion be called to account. Lenin took an active 
part in the meeting. The Warden of the Kazan Educational Area 
afterwards reported to the Department of Education that Ulyanov 
"dashed into the assembly hall with the first lot", and the University 
Inspector described him as "one of the most active participants in the 
meeting, who was to be seen in the front rows, very excited, almost 
with clenched fists". On leaving the meeting Lenin was one of the first 
to lay down his student's card. 

The revolutionary action of the students greatly alarmed the Kazan 
authorities. They kept a battalion of soldiers alerted in the courtyard 
of the building adjoining the university. 

As a demonstration of protest, Lenin decided to quit the university. 
On December 5, he wrote the following application to the Rector: "As 
I do not find it possible to continue my education at the university 
under the present conditions of university life, I beg to ask Your 
Excellency to issue the necessary order for my name to be crossed out 
ot the list of students of the Imperial Kazan University."* 

By order of the Governor of Kazan, Lenin was arrested and 
imprisoned. On his way to prison, the following interesting conversation 
took place between him and the police officer who escorted him. "What's 
the use of rebelling, young man? Don't you see there's a wall before 
youtf the officer said. "Yes, but the wall is rotten. Give it a good push 
and it will topple over!"** the young man answered boldly. 

In the prison cell the arrested studenLs compared notes and 
aiscussed plans for the future. Asked by his comrades what he would 
o when released, Lenin answered that only one road lay before him, 
nat ot revolutionary struggle. On December 5, Lenin was expelled from 
ne university along with other students who had played an active part 
^thejneeting. He was forbidden to live in Kazan, and on December 7 

m * V. r. Lenin, Collected Works, 5th Russ. cd.. Vol. 1, p 551 
Reminiscences ot Lenin by His Relatives, Moscow, 1956, p. 27. 


he was banished to the village of Kokushkmo. The covered cait in 
which he rode was escorted to the edge o the town by a po iceman 
That mm how Lenin, at the age of seventeen, took the path of 

IfSaSt not rest content with banishing Lenin to the 
village. The Director of the Police Department sent an oidei to the 
Chief of the Kazan Gubcrnia Gendarmes Otfice stating; See to it... 
Sat a" and secret watch be kept on Vladimir Ulyanov banished 
to the village of Kokushkino, Lapshevo Uyezd „ nrt „ nTri ; r 
While in exile Lenin assiduously studied socio-political economic 
n J! Mistical terature. Through his relatives in Kazan he received 
^SJS from the libraries. In later recollections he wrote: 
Tdon" think I ever afterwards read so much m my life, not eve 
during my imprisonment in St. Petersburg or exile in Siberia, as I did 
in the year when I was banished to the village from Kazan. I read 
oradously from early morning till late at night. * Lenin pursued his 
studies according to a strict system- He 

the periodicals Souremeimik, OtechesWenmye Zapisku Vestjnk Yc^iopy 
and Russkoye Boqatstvo, the newspaper Russkiye Vedomosti, and 
fiction especially the works of Nckrasov. Lenin read his famri 
authors, Chernyshevsky and Dobrolyubov, over and oyer W 
made precis and notes of their works. He made a profound study of 
the great Russian revolutionary democrat Chernyshevsky whose 
writings advocated a peasant revolution. . struggle to over hrowthc 
Tutocmcy and end serfdom, and set forth his materialist P^P^ 
views and socialist ideas. Lenin later often stressed the 
importance of the writings of Chernyshevsky, who was able even m 
censored articles to educate real revolutionary 

Lenin admired Chernyshevsky's novel What Is To Be Donet, a 
favourite book of his executed brother Alexander. It embodied m 
artistic form the socialist ideas which the author expounded m his 
theoretical writings. Chernyshevsky was the first ^™ ^or to 
deoict a revolutionary, a noble champion of the people s freedom and 
happiness Lenin wa/so fascinated by this book that in the eourse ot 
several weeks in the summer of 1888 he read it four or five times every 
time finding in it new stirring thoughts (he first read the novel when 
he was fourteen or fifteen). In later recollections Lenin spoke ; about 
Chernyshevsky having "deeply ploughed him all up . He said that he 
even wrote a letter to Chernyshevsky. 

In the Marxist study-circle. Lenin spent nearly a year m exile. In the 
autumn of 1888 he was permitted to return to Kazan, but he was not 
readmitted to the university. The Warden of the Kazan Educational 
Area objected to Lenin's returning to the university and wrote to tlic 
Department of Public Education: ". . .Although he possesses outstanding 
abilities and is extremely well informed, he cannot at present be 

x Voprosy Litemtury No. 8, 1957, p. 133. 


sidered a reliable person cither morally or politically," In the 
n^oartment the following endorsement was made on this document: 
"Isn't this the brother of that Ulyanov? He is from the Simbirsk 
Cvmnasium, too, isn't he? Not to be admitted under any circumstances." 
prevented from continuing his education in Russia, Lenin applied for 
nerrnission to leave the country and continue his education abroad, but 
again he was refused. The Governor of Kazan received an order from 
the Police Department saying that "no foreign passport . . . should be 
issued" to Vladimir Ulyanov. 

Shortly afterwards Lenin joined one of the Marxist study-circles 
organised by Nikolai Fedoseycv. There were several illegal revolutionary 
circles in Kazan at the time, where the works of Marx and Engels, 
circulating in illegal editions and manuscript form, were studied and 
discussed, and where heated debates were held on the works of 
Plckhanov aimed against the Narodniks. 

It was a time when Narodism had a strong hold on the revolutionary - 
minded intellectuals. The idealist and anti-historical claim of the 
Narodniks that capitalism in Russia was an accidental development, 
that the country would arrive at socialism only through the peasant 
commune, and their advocacy of the tactics of individual terrorism as 
a method of political struggle were very popular among the intellectuals. 
"Nearly all had in their early youth enthusiastically worshipped the 
terrorist heroes," Lenin pointed out afterwards. "It required a struggle 
to abandon the captivating impressions of those heroic traditions, and 
the struggle was accompanied by the breaking off of personal relations 
with people who were determined to remain loyal to the Narodnaya 
Volya and for whom the young Social-Democrats had profound respect. 
The struggle compelled the youthful leaders to educate themselves, to 
read illegal literature of every trend "* 

The views of the Narodniks obviously clashed with realities. After 
the abolition of serf dom in 1861 capitalism in Russia began to develop 
rapidly. Factories sprang up in St. Petersburg, in the central and 
southern regions, and in the Urals. Railway lines were built connecting 
the centre with the border regions of the country. A great revolutionary 
force was growing and gaining strength in Russia in the shape of the 
proletariat. The working class, which had not yet become conscious of 
its own power, had already started its struggle against the bourgeois 
and landowner system. Strikes broke out spontaneously and the first 
Proletarian organisations came into being. 

In 1883 the first Russian Marxist organisation- the Emancipation of 
Labour group headed by Plekhanov-was set up abroad. This group 
played a prominent part in spreading the ideas of scientific socialism 
*n Russia, in giving a Marxist analysis of the economic situation in the 
country, and combating Narodism. The writings of Plekhanov were of 
ve *"y great importance, especially his Socialism and the Political Struggle 

* V. I. Lenin. Collected Works, Vol. 5, pp. 517-18. 


and Our Difierences, which were avidly read and discussed m the 
Marxist study-circles of the time. Published abroad free from censorship, 
they, for the first time, systematically expounded the ideas of Marxism 
as applicable to Russia. The Emancipation of Labour group, however, 
in the words of Lenin, only laid the theoretical foundations for the 
Social-Democratic movement in Russia and took the first step towards 
the working-class movement. 

One of the first revolutionaries in Russia to proclaim his adherence 
to Marxism was Nikolai Fedoscyev. For reasons of secrecy, the members 
of the study-circles which he had organised in Kazan did not associate 
with one another and did not mention names unless they had to. 
Everyone knew only the members of his own circle. That is why Lenin 
never met Fedoscyev, although he was a member of one of the circles. 
Neither did he meet Maxim Gorky, who was a baker's apprentice at 
the time and also attended the secret study-circles. 

Lenin devoted the months spent in Kazan to mastering the theory 
of Marxism and making personal contacts with the young Marxists 
there. He made a serious study of Marx's chief work. Capital in which 
its great author revealed and scientifically demonstrated the economic 
laws of development of capitalist society, gave a profound analysis of 
capitalism's contradictions, and incontestably proved the inevitability 
of its downfall and of the victory of socialism. Marx showed the world- 
wide historic role of the proletariat, the grave-digger o£ capitalism 
and the builder of a new, socialist society. Lenin was completely carried 
away by the great ideas of Marx, by the irresistible logic and profundity 
of his scientific conclusions. He did not merely study Capital but gave 
it deep thought, specifically from the angle of its application to the 
socio-economic conditions and the tasks of the working-class movement 
in Russia. "He would explain to me with great fervour and enthusiasm 
the fundamentals of Marx's theory and talk of the new horizons it 
opened," Anna Ilyinichna writes in her reminiscences. "He seemed to 
radiate an optimistic confidence which was very catching. Even in those 
early days his words carried the power to influence and convince. Even 
then he never kept his knowledge to himself but sought to share every 
new fact he discovered with others, to win people to his viewpoint. 
And in Kazan he soon found friends among revolutionary-minded 
young students of Marxist theory."* 

Lenin was one oi the first Russian Marxists, a convinced adherent 
and ardent propagandist oi the great ideas oL scientific socialism. 

Having mastered the Marxist theory, Lenin saw as no one else the 
great force that would be aroused in the working class of Russia when 
a socialist consciousness was brought into the young working-class 
movement. Already at that time he was certain that neither the tsarist 
autocracy nor the rule of the capitalists would be able to withstand 
that force. 

* Reminiscences oi Lenin by His Relatives, Moscow, 1956, p. 30. 


His warm affection for all working people, for all the oppressed, 
T nin received, to quote N. Krupskaya, "as a legacy from the heroic 
Russian revolutionary movement. This feeling made him seek 
assionately, earnestly for an answer to the question as to what the 
oaths of liberation for the working people were to be. He found the 
answers to his questions in Marx. It was not as a mere book-lover that 
he appr° acne d Marx. He approached him as a person seeking answers 
to vexed pressing questions. And he found those answers there".* 

The Samara period. Early in May 1889 the Ulyanovs went out to a 
farm near the village of Alakayevka in Samara Gubernia, and in the 
autumn moved to Samara (now Kuibyshev). Meantime the secret police 
had succeeded in tracking down the Kazan revolutionary study-circles. 
In July Nikolai Fedoscyev was arrested and imprisoned along with 
several members of the circle which Lenin attended. It was only by a 
lucky chance-his departure from Kazan-that Lenin escaped a second 

Lenin had to do something to earn a living. In the course of May and 
June he advertised in Samarskaya Gazeta: "Former student seeks a 
lesson. Place away from home no obstacle, Write V. U„ c / Yelizarov, 
Voznesenskaya Street, house of Saushkina." There was a note on the 
list of persons under police surveillance to the effect that Ulyanov made 
a livelihood in Samara by giving lessons. 

Unable to enter the university either in Russia or abroad, Lenin tried 
to get permission to pass his university examinations without attending 
lectures. But it was not until the spring of 1890, after several applica- 
tions had been made, that he received such permission. He began to 
prepare for his examinations with his customary energy. He made up 
his mind to take his degree simultaneously with his former Kazan 
fellow students. To do that, he would have to master the four-year 
course of university studies in eighteen months of independent work. 
Lenin drew up a rigid schedule of studies, and strictly adhered to it. 
In the summer, in Alakayevka, he set up what he called his "work 
room" in a distant part of the garden, and he would come there after 
his morning tea, loaded with books and writing materials, and work 
till nightfall. 

Lenin worked hard, but he knew how to relax as well. In the evenings 
the house in Alakayevka resounded with music and singing. Lenin 
often sang together with his sister Olga, who also played the piano 
accompaniment He was particularly fond of the song "Our Sea Is 
Friendless" to the words of "The Swimmer" by the poet Yazykov. He 
s ^ng with great feeling: 

But the billows cany over 
Only those whose hearts are strong! 
Courage, ' 
Swifter I 

* N. K. Krupskaya. On Lenin, Collected Articles, Russ. c±, Moscow, 1960, p. 13. 


Lenin's relatives pointed out that there was nothing wistful about 
his singing. It always had a courageous note in it and rang like a call 
for action. One morning, when Olga was playing the Marseillaise, 
Lenin came into the room and suggested singing The Internationale. In 
those days this hymn was almost unknown in Russia. The brother and 
sister started to practise the tune, then sang the whole hymn m French. 
Lenin had studied music as a child, but then gave it up, a thing he 
always recalled with regret. He was very fond of music, for which he 
had an appreciative ear. 

In 1891 Lenin took his examinations in Law at the St. Petersburg 
University in two stages-in the spring and autumn. He was the only 
one of all the examinees to receive the highest marks in all subjects, 
and was granted a first-class diploma. While in St. Petersburg for his 
examinations, Lenin took the opportunity of contacting the Marxists 
there, and obtaining through them a supply of Marxist literature. 

At the close of January 1892 Lenin was called to the bar and in March 
he began to practise in the Samara Circuit Court. He appeared for the 
defence in court about fifteen times during 1892-93, 

His legal practice, however, interested him least of all, his energies 
being wholly devoted to studying Marxism, to preparing himself for 
active revolutionary work. At the time of his arrival in Samara there 
were several illegal study-circles there of revolutionary minded young 
people, mostly students. The majority of those circles adhered to the 
Narodnik trend. The most active circle was that of A. Sklyarenko, who 
printed and distributed illegal publications, carried on propaganda 
among the students, and had contacts with some of the workers. Lenin 
was introduced to Sklyarenko by M. Yelizarov, Lenin's brother-in-law, 
and soon became friendly with him and established contacts with the 
members of his circle and other study-circles. 

Quite a few revolutionary Narodniks of the seventies lived in Samara, 
but nearly all of them had retired from politics by that time. Always 
eager to learn and take the best and most useful of everything, Lenin 
spent a good deal of time in talks with Narodnaya Volya veterans, 
critically assimilating the experience of the revolutionary movement 
of the past. He showed a keen interest in their stories about revolutionary 
work, secrecy techniques, and the behaviour of revolutionaries during 
interrogations and trials. Although he did not share their views, Lenin 
had a profound respect for these brave, selfless revolutionaries. 

The appearance of this young well-educated Marxist had a powerful 
impact on the revolutionary study-circles of Samara. With his 
characteristic ardour and ability to win others over to his way of 
thinking, Lenin started to advocate Marxism in Samara as well. He 
was particularly active in Sklyarenko's circle, and many members of the 
latter, including Sklyarenko himself, broke with Narodnik views under 
the influence of Lenin's Marxist propaganda. 

In Samara Lenin began an unrelenting struggle against Narodnik 
ideology. He delivered frequent lectures exposing the unscientific nature 


the Narodnik views and showing how untenable they were and how 
h 1 clashed with reality. He lectured to a study-circle, which included 
nrkers of the Samara railway depot, on the subject of "The Village 
Commune, Its Destiny, and the Ways to Revolution". In the summer 
d winter of 1S92 he wrote and then delivered in illegal study-circles 
lectures directed against the leading ideologists of liberal Narodism- 
N Mikhailovsky, V. Vorontsov and S, Yuzhakov-and also gave talks 
ori the works of Marx and Engels. His paper on Marx's book The 
Poverty oi Philosophy roused great interest in the revolutionary study- 
circles. Lenin delivered his lectures in an atmosphere of sharp ideological 
struggle. He upheld the Marxist doctrine, skilfully repelling the attacks 
of his opponents. 

The members of Sklyarenko's circle observed strict secrecy in their 
activities. To hear lectures and discuss theoretical and practical 
questions, they sometimes made what they called a "grand tour"-a boat 
trip down the Volga to the end of the Samara Bend, where they 
continued their trip up a small river which flows north and then joins 
the Volga. The trip lasted several days, and the circle members were 
able to discuss the questions that interested them without hindrance or 
fear of the police coming down on them. The trip was also an excellent 
form of relaxation. Years later, when he was compelled to live abroad, 
Lenin recalled with pleasure the "grand tours" he made with his 
comrades in Samara and how he enjoyed seeing new places. 

In Samara Lenin translated Marx's and Engels's Communist Manifesto 
from German into Russian. The manuscript of his translation circulated 
from hand to hand, was read in the Samara circles and even found its 
way outside Samara. Unfortunately, this manuscript was lost. 

In 1892 Lenin organised the first Marxist circle in Samara. It 
comprised A. Sklyarenko, I. Lalayants (from 1893), M. Scmyonov, 
engine-driver's mate I. Kuznctsov, girl student of a school for doctors' 
assistants M. Lebedeva, and A. Belyakov. The circle discussed the works 
of Marx and Engels- Capital Anti-Diihrmg, The Condition of the 
Working Class in England-thc works of Plekhanov and others. All the 
Marxist literature that could be obtained in Samara at the time was 
studied and discussed. The circle members carried on active propaganda 
of Marxism. 

Lenin often lectured in the circle on questions of Marxist theory and 
read articles which he wrote on the subject. During his stay in Samara 
he wrote several articles, among them, according to the testimony of 
™e circle members, an article on V. Vorontsov's book The Destiny of 
Capitalism in Russia (a fundamental work of liberal Narodism), and an 
article dealing with one of the works of S. Krivenko, a prominent 
hberal Narodnik. 

Lenin's prestige among his followers stood very high. "Simplicity, 
actfulness, a zest for life were remarkably combined in this twenty- 


three-year-old man with dignity, profound knowledge, ruthless logical 
consistency, clear judgement and precision in definitions,"* L. Lalayants 
wrote in his reminiscences. 

Already at that time Lenin displayed a creative faculty of mind in 
dealing with the problems he was studying. He approached the theory 
of Marxism with an open mind, and accepted nothing as dogma. He 
regarded theory as a key to the understanding ol Russia's economic and 
political situation, and every conclusion he drew from the books he 
read he tried to verity in practice and apply to reality. 

Equipped with the Marxist scientific method, Lenin made a profound 
and thorough study of Russia's economy. He collected and analysed a 
vast amount of data on peasant farming, especially Zemstvo statistics.* 
He set forth his analyses and conclusions first in a lecture to the study- 
circle and then in an article entitled "New Economic Developments in 
Peasant Life", which he wrote in the spring of 1893. It was the earliest 
theoretical work of Lenin that has reached us. It shows that Lenin was 
already well versed in Marxist theory, and used it competently in his 
study of the life of Russia's peasants. Lenin had a high opinion of the 
statistical data cited in V. Postnikov's Peasant Fanning in South Russia 
which he described as a book supplying ample information for an 
analysis of the situation in the Russian countryside. Lenin used that 
information but criticised the author for his inconsistency and his 
methodological errors. He gave a Marxist analysis of the state of affairs 
in the countryside and smashed the Narodnik myth about the special 
and immutable character of peasant farming. Lenin showed that while 
the Narodniks denied the development of capitalism in Russia, 
capitalism was growing with irresistible force, and that a process of 
profound economic differentiation was going on among the peasantry, 
who were splitting up into poor, middle and rich peasants (kulaks). 
Data cited by Lenin proved the existence of antagonistic classes among 
the "communal" peasantry, whom the Narodniks idealised. 

Lenin planned to have his article published in the liberal Russkaya 
My si, but the editors rejected it "as unsuitable to the trend of this 
periodical". As he attached great importance to the question raised in 
the article, Lenin decided to publish it in pamphlet form. But he was 
unable to do that at the time. He used the more important data 
contained in the article in Chapter II of his book The Development oi 
Capitalism in Russia. The article "New Economic Developments in 
Peasant Life" was first published in 1923. 

* Reminiscences oi Lenin, Russ. cd., 195(5, Part 1, p. 102. 
** Zenislvos— the name given to the local government bodies formed in the 
central provinces of tsarist Russia in 1SG4. They were dominated by the nobility 
and their powers were limited to purely local economic problems (hospital and 
road building, statistics, insurance, etc.). Their activities were controlled by the 
provincial governors and by the Ministry of the Interior, which could rescind any 
decisions of which the government disapproved. 


Lenin carefully studied Russian country life and often had talks with 
the peasants and with people who were familiar with the countryside. 
During his stay at the farm in the summer Lenin often called on 
A. Preobrazhensky, the organiser of the Narodnik agricultural colony 
situated within a few miles of Alakayevka, At Prcobrazhensky's he 
often met and spoke to the peasants, notably D. Kislikov from the 
village of Gvardeitsy, which was described by Gleb Uspcnsky in his 
Three Villages, Kislikov, for his part, called on Lenin, who was greatly 
interested in this gifted peasant who, at the age of thirty, had started 
to learn to read and write, had begun to write poetry, and expressed 
daring views. Lenin remembered him for years to come. In 1905 he 
wrote to Preobrazhensky: "Is that peasant Radical you introduced to 
me still alive? What is he doing now?" During the revolution of 
1905 07 Kislikov conducted propaganda among the peasants which was 
close to Social-Democratic propaganda. 

In 1893 Lenin suggested to Preobrazhensky that he should investigate 
one of the villages, and helped him to draw up a household census card 
with a list of questions. The results of the investigation were later sent 
to Lenin in St. Petersburg. Lenin also received valuable material on the 
condition of the peasants from Sklyarenko, who was employed as 
secretary to a J. P. and therefore had frequent opportunities to visit the 
country and associate with the peasants. 

The sound knowledge of peasant farming which his study of the 
countryside had given him was to stand Lenin in good stead in his 
subsequent theoretical researches. It equipped him with authentic 
factual data which gave him ample material for profound scientific 
generalisations and conclusions, and for a devastating criticism of 
Narodnik views. 

Lenin's activities were not confined to Samara. He was in touch with 
a number of towns in the Volga region. Through M. Yelizarov he 
established close contact with the statistician V. Ionov and A. Yerama- 
eov, who lived in Syzran and visited Samara. Under Lenin's influence 
these two men became Marxists. A number of people came to Samara 
trom Saratov, Kazan and other Volga towns to study the new, Marxist 
doctrine. In this manner, the Volga region began to play an important 
Part m spreading Marxist ideas in Russia. 

Lenin corresponded with Fedoseyev. They exchanged views on Marxist 
theory and on the economic and political development of Russia. In 1893 
Lemn received from Fedoseyev, then in prison, a manuscript dealing 
with the causes of the fall of serfdom in Russia. The manuscript, with 
Rerun's marginal notes, was read and discussed by the members of the 
Marxist study-circle. This correspondence between Lenin and Fedoseyev 
went on for a number of years. Lenin had a deep affection for his like- 
mnded tnend. Many years later he wrote: "Fedoseyev played a very 
ovportant role in the Volga area and certain parts of Central Russia 
q urmg that period; and the turn towards Marxism at that time was, 


undoubtedly, very largely due to the influence of this exceptionally 
talented and exceptionally devoted revolutionary,"* 

Kazan and Samara were very important landmarks in Lenin's lite 
and activity. It was in those years that his Marxist convictions 
crystallised. The Samara period was a period of mustering strength 
before coming out into the broad arena of revolutionary struggle. He 
longed to have full scope for revolutionary work. He wanted to be in 
a major industrial centre with a numerous proletariat. In August 1893, 
with this aim in view, he left Samara for St. Petersburg. 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 33, p. 453. 

Chapter Two 


Give us an organisation of revolutionaries anil we will 
overturn Russia! 


Lenin took advantage of his trip to St. Petersburg to get in touch 
with Marxists in Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow. In a long talk with 
the comrades in Nizhny Novgorod, he particularly stressed the need for 
setting up a Social-Democratic organisation and establishing contacts 
between the Marxists of different cities. Their meeting with Lenin created 
a strong impression on the Nizhny Novgorod Marxists. "Young Lenin," 
wrote S. Mitskevich, who took part in the talk, "impressed one as a man 
°f great erudition, sound judgement, and powerful intellect. It is 
interesting to note that already at that time one could see in him the 
future organiser of our Party. He devoted great attention to gathering 
a U the available forces of the revolutionary Marxists and establishing 
contacts between the Marxists scattered in various towns."* 

From Nizhny Novgorod Lenin went to Moscow, where the Ulyanov 
*amily was now living, Dmitry Ilyich having entered the university 

* Reminiscences ot Lenin, Russ. ed.. 1956, Part 1, p. 131. 

there. Lenin met the local Marxists and worked in the reading-room of 
the Rumyantsev Museum (now the Lenin State Library). 

Among the St. Petersburg proletariat. Lenin arrived in St. Petersburg 
on August 31 (the tsarist secret police lost no time m notifying the 
Police Department about it). Two days later he was appointed assists 
barrister to a St. Petersburg lawyer. This job, however, was merely an 
official screen for his revolutionary activities. He devoted very little 
Lime to law practice, and gave himself up entirely to revolutionary work 

The Nizhny Novgorod Marxists had given Lenin a secret address 
in St Petersburg. They had also given him a letter to a countryman of 
theirs named M. Silvin, who was studying there and through whom fte 
got into contact with the Marxists in the capital. Shortly afterward 
Lenin joined a Marxist study-circle consisting mainly of students of the 
Technological Institute. It included S. Radchcnko, G. Krzhizhanovsky, 
V Starkov, G. Krasin, A. Vaneyev, P. Zaporozhets, M. Silvin and A. Mai 
chenko. It was a small group carrying on Marxist propaganda among 3 
narrow section of advanced workers. 

Before Lenin's arrival, however, none of the members of the circle 
knew how to apply Marxism to problems of Russian economy. "None 
of us," Krzhizhanovsky wrote in his reminiscences, "was familiar lo 
such an extent with first-hand information on this economy, with th< 
wealth of material afforded by our Zemstvo statistics. None of us couk. 
vie with him in the breadth and depth of the class analysis of the forces 
in operation." 

Lenin infused new life into the circle. His appearance there was 
compared to "a thunderburst that had a vivifying effect". Unshakable 
iaith in the victory ol the working class, vast knowledge, a prolomu 
understanding ol Marxism, and the ability to apply it in solving the 
problems vital to the masses earned Lenin the sincere respect of the 
St. Petersburg Marxists and made him their recognised leader. 

Lenin was already absorbed in the cardinal task of doing away as 
quickly as possible with the isolation and amateurishness of the Social 
Democratic circles and proceeding to found a revolutionary proletarian 
party. Recalling that period at a later date, he wrote: "I used to work 
in a study- circle that set itself very broad, all-embracing tasks; and all 
of us, members of that circle, suffered painfully and acutely from the 
realisation that we were acting as amateurs at a moment in history 
when we might have been able to say, varying a well-known statemc R 
'Give us an organisation of revolutionaries, and we will overturn 
Russia!'"* It was to the building of such an organisation that Lenin 
applied himself in St. Petersburg. 

His activities in St. Petersburg coincided with the beginning of an 
upswing in the mass working-class movement which gained particular 
momentum in the nineties of the nineteenth century. With the develop- 
ment of capitalism in Russia, the working class grew rapidly. There 

* V. T. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 5, pp. 466-67. 


already nearly three million workers employed in big factories, 
W£ \he railways, and in the mining industry. Their life was a hard and 
° n *etched one. The working day was from twelve to thirteen hours, 
^nd in some industries from fifteen to sixteen. The employers drove the 
porker hard, and often made him work overtime. The sweated worker 
received low wages, and as for women and children, who were widely 
employed in industry, they received a mere pittance. The capitalists 
cheated the workers in every way they could. They fined the workers 
on the least pretext, and forced them to buy low-grade products in the 
employer's store at exorbitant prices. 

Backbreaking labour, semi-starvation and appalling living conditions 
drove the proletarian masses to protest and fight back. But the workers' 
spontaneous, sporadic protests against grinding exploitation and poverty 
usually ended in their defeat. Those who dared to voice their dissatis- 
faction with the existing system were severely persecuted, thrown into 
prison, exiled or condemned to penal servitude. 

If the struggle against the capitalists was to be effective, it had to be 
waged in an organised fashion and infused with the revolutionary ideas 
of scientific socialism. The tasks Lenin set before the Marxists of 
St. Petersburg were to politically educate and organise the workers, 
to develop their socialist consciousness and explain to them the common 
aims and paths of the proletarian class struggle. 

Lenin's work among the St. Petersburg proletariat started in the 
autumn of 1893. He established contact, with V. Shelgunov, I. Babush- 
kin, V. Knyazev, N. Merkulov, the Bodrov brothers, I. Kostin, 
I. Yakovlev, B. Zinoviev, P. Dmitriev, and many other advanced 
workers. He was in touch with the workers of the Putilov (now Kirov) 
Works, the Semyannikov (now the Lenin Nevsky Engineering) Works, 
the Obukhov (now Bolshevik) Works, the Thornton (now Thaelmann) 
Mill, the Laferme (now Uritsky) Mill, and other factories. 

When Lenin arrived in St. Petersburg he found several workers' 
political circles functioning there. He began to attend them. He went 
to meetings held in workers' homes, often met with the organisers of 
the circles, and took an active part in conferences of the revolutionary- 
minded proletarians. He made a close study of the working and living 
conditions and temper of the workers, and lent an attentive ear to 
what they had to say about the way things were run at the factories, 
about the hard lives they led, and about landowner oppression in the 
countryside, with which many of them were closely connected. 

Lenin devoted a good deal of his energy to the political education 
°f the workers. He conducted workers' study-circles in the Nevskaya 
2astava, Petersburg and Vyborg districts of the city. They met in the 
pomes of the workers. Besides conducting the circles, he helped 
individual workers with their studies. 

Lenin spread the great doctrine of Marxism among the workers, 
nnking it with the vital questions of the country's life and the needs of 
the proletariat. He helped the workers to assimilate Marxist theory. 


In expounding the first volume of Capital, he illustrated the economic 
doctrine of Marx with examples from the life of his listeners. He had 
a way of explaining the most complicated questions of theory in simple, 
comprehensible terms. The workers listened with lively interest to their 
circle-leader, who skilfully drew them into a discussion of the problems 
that he raised. L Babushkin, a member of one of the circles, recalls 
with admiration the way Lenin conducted studies on political economy: 

"The lecturer explained the subject to us in his own words, without 
reading from notes; he would try to get us to disagree with him o 
start a dispute, and then he would egg us on, making one of us argue 
his point of view with another. Our lectures, therefore, were very lively 
and interesting, and tended to develop a habit for public speaking, 
this method of study was the best way of mastering the subject. Wc 
were all very pleased with the lectures and constantly admired the 
ability of our lecturer "* 

The worker V. Knyazev, another of Lenin's pupils, subsequently wrote 
that the members of the circle clearly grasped their teacher's main idea, 
namely, that if the workers "rallied together and united, they would 
represent a force capable of destroying all obstacles to the achievement 
of a better life. By acquiring knowledge, they could improve their owe 
condition and win free from oppression. . .".** 

Every lecture of Lenin's left the workers richer with knowledge, 
broadened their horizon, moulded their class consciousness and addev 
to their political understanding. They took to the teachings of Marx 
eagerly. Overworked though they were, they went without sleep or 
rest in order to read up for circle studies. "This period," wrc 
Babushkin, "was one of intense activity in the sense of mental develop 
mcnt; every minute was precious, every hour we were not at work m 
scheduled and allocated beforehand; our whole week was strict! 
mapped out When I look back on this period now I wonder where o 
earth we got the energy for such an intensive life/'*** 

Lenin gave special attention to the training of organisers a&d 
instructors for the workers' circles. "You must read more, gain more- 
knowledge and help others to gain it . . . you must work hard. Yoi 
must develop politically, then you will all enjoy your work in the circle," 
Knyazev quotes Lenin in his recollections. 

Shelgunov tells us that Lenin constantly impressed upon the workers 
that they should never lose sight of the political side of things, that 
they should go the revolutionary way and. not swerve to the reformist 
sidepath of the English trade unions, because trade unionism meant 
the ideological enslavement of the workers by the bourgeoisie. He 
taught the workers how to behave in the event of arrest, interrogation, 
and trial, how to help arrested and exiled comrades, and how to raise 

* Reminiscences of Lenin, Russ. ed„ 1956, Part 1, pp. 113-14. 

* Ibid., p. 119. 

* Recollections of Ivan Vasilyevich Babushkin, Russ. ed., Moscow, 1951, p. 58. 


f ds for that purpose. He urged that libraries should be organised and 
^reading programme drawn up to promote the education of the 

W< Lenin taught the circle members to do independent political work. 
He got them to lend a hand in collecting material for the writing of 
leaflets on the burning topics of the day, leaflets calling upon the 
workers to fight their oppressors. He often gave the circle members 
written questions, to answer which they had to make a study of factory 
conditions. Through one of his acquaintances Lenin succeeded in 
obtaining permission to visit the Putilov Works. He went over this 
vast establishment, familiarising himself with the work conditions of 
the industrial proletariat. 

The concrete knowledge of the condition of the working class which 
he thus obtained helped him to guide the growing movement of the 

It was characteristic of Lenin as an instructor of the workers' circles 
that he not only taught the workers, but constantly learned from them, 
and studied their lining and working conditions. 

His familiarity with working-class life provided Lenin with invaluable 
material for drawing conclusions and making generalisations in his 
theoretical works about the proletariat as the leading force of society, 
about its great revolutionary role. "His work among the St, Petersburg 
workers, his talks with them, and the attention with which he listened 
to what they had to say, gave Lenin an understanding of Marx's great 
idea, the idea that the working class was the vanguard of ail the toiling 
people, that the toiling people, and all the oppressed, followed its lead, 
that herein lay its strength and the pledge of its victory. Only as a 
leader of all the toiling people could the working class be victorious. 
Lenin realised this when he was active among the St. Petersburg 

Lenin enjoyed the deep affection and respect of the workers, to whom 
he was a teacher and friend. More and more workers flocked to his 
circle. Originally consisting of Babushkin, Shelgunov and two other 
workers, the circle membership increased to nineteen, among whom there 
were also women workers. 

Lenin trained advanced revolutionary proletarians to be organisers 
of the proletarian masses, and it was on them he mainly relied in 
building up a Marxist working-class party in Russia. His pupils proved 
worthy of their teacher. Special mention should be made of Shclgimnv, 
a revolutionary who organised a circle of advanced workers and who 
conducted vigorous organising and propaganda work among the 
Proletarians. Lenin thought highly of Shelgunov's role in the working- 
class movement of Russia. Babushkin, who became a prominent leader 
°f the proletarian party, was another pupil of Lenin, and a close 
associate of his. The son of a poor peasant, who had known poverty 

* N. K. Krupskaya, On Lenin, Russ. ed., Moscow, 1960, p. 14. 


and exploitation ever since his childhood and who had afterwards 
become a skilled fitter, he was a staunch revolutionary devoted heart 
and soul to the cause. A man of no ordinary abilities, Babushkin could 
never slake his thirst for knowledge. Lenin subsequently wrote of him : 
"I. V. Babushkin is one of those working-class militants who 10 yeart 
before the revolution began to create the workers' Social-Democratic 
Party, Had it not been for the tireless, heroically persistent work oi 
such militants among the proletarian masses the R.S.D.L.P. could not 
have existed ten months let alone ten years. Thanks only to the 
activities of such militants, thanks only to their support, the R.S.D.L.P. 
developed by 1905 into a party which became inseparably fused with 
the proletariat in the great days of October and December, which 
maintained this connection in the person of the ivorkers' deputies 
not only in the Second, but even in the Third, Black-Hundred 

In the winter of 1894-95 Lenin often met Nadezhda Konstantinoym' 
Krupskaya, whose acquaintance he made in February 1894. At the tiir 
of their first meeting she had been working free of charge for over three 
years as a teacher at an evening Sunday school for workers in th< 
Nevskaya Zastava district. This school was attended by workers from 
the Maxwell and Pal Mills, Alexandrovsky Mechanical and Semyanniko v 
Works, and other enterprises. Many of them-Babushkin, Borovkov 
Gribakin, the Bodrov brothers, Zhukov and others-were members i 
the circles which Lenin conducted in 1894-95. Lenin and Krupskav 
were drawn together by the common cause, and it formed the basis oi 
their lifelong friendship. 

Krupskaya was brought up in a revolutionary environment. He 
father, Konstantin Krupsky, was a typical representative of the 
revolutionary intellectuals of the sixties of the nineteenth century. She 
dedicated herself to revolutionary activities from her early youth. In 
the nineties she joined a Marxist circle. She was an ardent revolutionary- 
devoted to the cause of the working class. 

On his way home from the lectures, Lenin would drop in o ■ 
Krupskaya, who lived together with her mother. "I was in love with 
my school work," Krupskaya wrote in her reminiscences, "and cou: 
talk about it for hours if you did not stop me- talk about the schoo 
the pupils, the Semyannikov, Thornton, Maxwell and other factork a 
and mills in the neighbourhood. "Vladimir Ilyich was interested in eve 
little detail that could help him to piece together a picture of the life 
and conditions of the workers, to find some sort of avenue of approac i 
to them in the matter of revolutionary propaganda."** 

Lenin put before the Russian Social-Democrats the task of changir l 
over from the propaganda of Marxism in small circles of advance 
workers to political agitation among the broad mass of the worker- 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 16, p. 363. 

* if. K. Krupskaya. Reminiscences of Lenin, Moscow, 1959, p. 18. 


This was an important step forward in the activities of Russia's 
Marxists This change over was first made by the St. Petersbura Soc ?1 

connection with those diban^ ^fw ffi" £d * 
the Semyanmkov workers. According to Lenin, Babusl km helped to 

When the workers of Novy Port went on strike, the St Petcrsburc 

WSf.,^ a lcaH , et entitI ^ "What the Dock WoS 
Should Fight For It was d.stributed among the dockers and elsewhere 
in the city, and helped the dock workers to win the strike S ° Wtleie 

exposed! " 9rCSS Untl1 th ' S P ° IitiCal trCnd ' hostile to Mai4^ was 
From the very outset of his revolutionary activities in St Pcter.h,,™ 
the m a n uZn ed of "iZT^ 9 ?** tliC Nai4dnik 'deo Sgy n 

young Lenin which haTcome doT * JI^CSK?* °/ ^ 
understanding nf ^ Q „ "wwii lu ub. rie snowed in it a profound 

prevailing in Russia in the latfninetonth eentuiw " COndlH ° nS 

precisely this question Xt ^ ► 3 But if was 

and a proper undc ™ naiL n ii ^"m US co,ltrove ^ at the time, 
ffeo*M%£££ I^Ll. hlgMy . im P° rta <" for combating 
not develop T^lia L%Za T that wPWBm could 

country ofa wide home L* » ^ ^Pointed to «*» absence in the 
They believedThat no such ma, CSSeM ^ for capitalism. 

growing impoverishment of h 1 ^ ta RuSsia ' where thc 

impossible. VCUSnment of ft* People, they alleged, made it 

Lenin showed how untenable these arguments were On rt» k-i. 


was going on. He showed that capitalism had become "the main 
background of the economic life of Russia".* 

Lenin's paper played an important role in the theoretical development 
of the Marxists, and strengthened their ideological positions in the 
struggle against Narodism. It was distributed among the Social- 
Democratic circles in St. Petersburg and other cities. For a long time 
Lenin's manuscript was considered lost; it was found as late as 1937 
and published then for the first time. 

Early in January 1894 Lenin visited Moscow. It was vacation time, 
when young people got together at evening parties that served as a 
screen for illegal meetings. At one of these meetings, Lenin came out 
against V. Vorontsov, one of the Narodnik leaders. This was reported 
to the authorities by a police spy. From the files of the secret police we 
know that some other Marxist had spoken before Lenin, but Vorontsov 
had out-argued him, and "someone by the name of Ulyanov (supposed 
to be a brother of the hanged revolutionary) took up the cudgels and 
defended the man's views with skill and knowledge".** 

Lenin's speech was a great help to the Moscow Marxists. According 
to Anna Yelizarova, "it opened the eyes of the young Marxists to mam 
things, uplifted and acted as a spur to them". Lenin subsequently read 
a lecture on Vorontsov' s book The Destiny ot Capitalism in Russia to 
the Marxists of Nizhny Novgorod. 

In the nineties the Narodniks, once revolutionary fighters against 
tsarism, became moderate liberals who fawned on the autocracy. Al 
the end of 1893, they started a veritable crusade against Marxism in 
their legally published magazine Russkoye Bogatsluo {Russian Wealth) 
in which they grossly distorted the views of the Russian Marxists. The 
need to repel the furious attacks of the Narodniks against Marxism 
became all the more urgent because their views still found sympath 
with a certain section of the revolutionary youth and because the 
Narodniks were trying to influence the workers as well. The Narodnik 
publicists grouped around Russkoye Bogatstuo were headed b 
N. Mikhailovsky, who was known in the past for his opposition to 
serfdom and therefore enjoyed great prestige. He was called at the 
time "the ruler of men's minds". Few people realised that Mikhailovsky. 
who declared himself a socialist, had actually become a proponent of 
liberal-bourgeois views. It was necessary to expose the Narodniks, show 
their departure from the revolutionary traditions of the Narodniks of 
the seventies, their backsliding to liberalism, and the theoretical and 
political indefencibility of their world outlook. This task was brilliantly 
performed by Lenin. 

During the spring and summer of 1894 he wrote his well-known boo 1 ; 
What the "Friends ot the People" Are and How They Fight the Social- 
Democrats (A Reply to Articles in Russkoye Bogatstuo Opposing the 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 1, p. 109. 
- Krasny Azkhiv No. 1 (62). 1934. p. 76. 


Marxists). This book was written on the basis of Lenin's Samara 
lectures criticising the liberal Narodniks V. Vorontsov, N. Mikhailov- 
sky, S. Yuzhakov and S. Krivenko, and of his subsequent speeches in 
St. Petersburg and Moscow. In this book, which creatively applied 
Marxism in analysing the economic and political position of Russia, 
Lenin subjected the theoretical concepts, political programme and 
tactics of the Narodniks of the nineties to a searching criticism. He 
showed convincingly that revolutionary Narodism had degenerated into 
liberal Narodism. With all deference to the revolutionary experience of 
the Narodniks of the seventies, whom he admired for their courage, 
heroism and revolutionary stamina, Lenin exposed the liberal Narodniks 
and revealed the class springs and class essence of their ideology. He 
showed that the liberal Narodniks were political enemies of Social- 
Democracy, ideologists of the petty bourgeoisie, and exponents of the 
interests of the kulaks, and not "friends of the people", as they called 

In his criticism of the reactionary nature of the liberal Narodniks' 
petty-bourgeois theories, Lenin showed that they tried to conceal the 
existing contradictions in socio-economic relations in Russia, that they 
denied the historical role of the Russian working class as the champion 
for the emancipation of all the toiling people of the country, and played 
down the grievous condition of the peasantry, the class struggle in the 
countryside, and the exploitation of the poor by the kulaks. 

Lenin exposed the idealistic views of the Narodniks regarding the 
history of society's development. As they did not understand the 
objective laws governing the development of society, the Narodniks 
believed the course of history could be directed at will according to the 
desires of "critically minded", "morally developed" individuals. The 
makers of history, they claimed, were individual "heroes". As for the 
people, or "the crowd", to use their own term, they could only blindly 
follow the "heroes". Lenin exploded these unscientific views. He showed 
that the real maker of history was the people. Outstanding individuals 
could play an important role only insofar as they adhered to the same 
position as the foremost class, expressed its interests and took a correct 
view of the growing needs of social development, and only insofar as 
their activities were backed by the people. 

In What the "Friends ot the People" Are Lenin scathingly criticised 
pseudo-socialist theories from the standpoint of principle, and showed 
himself to be a staunch champion of the working-class cause. In setting 
forth the essence of the Marxist doctrine, he stressed the tremendous 
importance of Marxism as the ideological weapon of the proletariat 
in its struggle for political and social emancipation. The object of 
Marxist science, he stressed, was to lay bare all the forms of social 
contradictions under capitalism and show the proletariat the way out 
°f capitalist wage-slavery. 

In this work Lenin showed that one could not be a leader of the 
Proletariat without spreading the ideas of Marxism among the mass 


of the workers, just as one could not direct the proletarian class struggle 
without systematic organising work among the working class. Study, 
propaganda, organisation-this was how Lenin pithily defined the task 
of the Russian Marxists. Theoretical and practical activities must be 
inseparably linked together. Theory must serve practice, meet the needs 
of life and be verified by practical experience. 

One of the most important ideas expounded by Lenin in What the 
"Friends oi the People" Are was the idea of founding a Marxist 
workers' party. Lenin put this cardinal task before the Russian Marxists, 
and fought over many years to achieve it. He gave to this struggle all 
his political and organising genius, all the energy and passion of a 
Communist revolutionary. 

In his "What the 'Friends oi the People' Are", Lenin was the firsL 
Marxist in Russia theoretically to substantiate the historical role oi the 
Russian working class as the leader, the leading revolutionary force oi 
society, as the consistent fighter against tsarism and capitalism for the 
emancipation oi all the working and exploited people, lor the victorious 
socialist revolution. "The political activity of the Social-Democrats," he 
wrote, "lies in promoting the development and organisation of the 
working-class movement in Russia, in transforming this movement from 
its present state of sporadic attempts at protest, 'riots' and strikes 
devoid of a guiding idea, into an organised struggle of the whole 
Russian working class directed against the bourgeois regime and 
working for the expropriation of the expropriators and the abolition 
of the social system based on the oppression of the working people 
Underlying these activities is the common conviction of Marxists that 
the Russian worker is the sole and natural representative of Russia': 
entire working and exploited population."* 

Lenin considered that the immediate task of the Russian working 
class on the way towards abolishing the capitalist system was to 
overthrow the autocracy. In its struggle against autocratic-polk. 
tyranny, the working class would rally all the democratic elements of 
the country, first and foremost the peasantry, which was vital 1; 
concerned in abolishing the survivals of serfdom and would, therefor 
be a reliable ally of the working class in the revolutionary movement. 
In What the "Friends oi the People" Are, Lenin tor the first tin 
advanced the idea oi a revolutionary alliance oi the workers and the 
peasants as the decisive iorce, as the chief condition for overthrowing 
tsarism, the landowners and the bourgeoisie and building a communis 
society. This idea, which has become one of the fundamental, unshakable 
principles of Leninism, was upheld and elaborated by Lenin throughout 
his life. 

The book ends with an inspired prophecy concerning the great 
historical mission of the working class of Russia-, " is on the 
working class that the Social-Democrats concentrate all their attention 

* V. L Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 1, pp. 298-99. 


and all their activities. When its advanced representatives have mastered 
the ideas of scientific socialism, the idea of the historical role of 
the Russian worker, when these ideas become widespread, and when 
stable organisations are formed among the workers to transform the 
workers' present sporadic economic war into conscious class struggle- 
then the Russian worker, rising at the head of all the democratic 
elements, will overthrow absolutism and lead the Russian proletariat 
(side by side with the proletariat of all countries) along the 
straight road oi open political struggle to the victorious communist 

Lenin's work What the "Friends oi the People" Are consisted of three 
parts.** The first and third parts were published illegally in St. Peters- 
burg. In addition, Parts One and Two were published in Gorki, an 
estate in Vladimir Gubcrnia owned by Ganshin, and partly in Moscow. 
The local organisations had handwritten, typewritten and hectographed 
copies of it made,- it was circulated illegally in St. Petersburg, Moscow, 
Vilno, Chernigov, Poltava, Vladimir, Penza, Rostov-on-Don, Kiev, Tomsk 
and other cities and was extremely popular among the Social-Democrats. 

The book had a stimulating effect upon the whole activity of the 
Russian Marxists. M. Kalinin wrote that it "was a huge success in the 
underground and was distributed widely among the young people, 
especially the students. It served for a long time as an effective weapon 
in underground propaganda".*** Mitskevich, member of a Marxist circle 
in Moscow, wrote that "when this book appeared Lenin became a still 
more popular and recognised authority among the Marxists. The young 
Russian Marxist trend realised that it had found in him a man of great 
political and theoretical stature".**** 

Exposing the bourgeois essence of "legal Marxism". During the years 
of preparation for the founding of a proletarian party Lenin had to 
wage a stubborn struggle not only against the Narodniks, but against 
the so-called "legal Marxists" as well. As Marxism began to spread 
widely throughout Russia it found transient fellow travellers among the 
bourgeois intellectuals. They declared themselves to be adherents of this 
doctrine and expounded their views in the legal organs of the press, 
whence their name of "legal Marxists". The "legal Marxists" criticised 
the Narodniks in their own way. They recognised the progressive 
character of capitalism compared with feudalism, which had outlived 
itself, and argued that bourgeois economic relations were developing 
w Russia. But they took only one aspect of Marx's doctrine-his postulate 
that capitalism was progressive compared with the social formations 
that had preceded it. As to the quint-essence of Marxism-its doctrine 
of the class struggle, the socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 1, p. 300. 
** Part II is still missing. 

*** M. Kalinin, On Lenin's Book "Wind &$ 'Friends oi the People' Are and How 
I JS FlgM thc Social D eM°c"£ds", Russ. cel., Moscow, 1952, p. 20. 

* Reminiscences oi Lenin, Russ. cd., 1956, Part 1. p. 136. 


proletariat-they rejected it. They extolled the capitalist system, which 
they made out to be better than it was. Thus the "legal Marxists' 
distorted Marxism in the liberal-bourgeois spirit. Covering up their 
views with theoretical postulates which they quoted at random from 
Marx's doctrine and to which they gave a false and one-sided interpre- 
tation, they sought to subordinate the working-class movement to the 
ideology and interests of the bourgeoisie. Many of them subsequently 
became Cadets (Constitutional Democrats-thc chief party of the Russian 
liberal-monarchist bourgeoisie), and after the Great October Socialist 
Revolution, fought bitterly against Soviet power. 

At the very birth of "legal Marxism" Lenin saw this liberal-bourgeois 
trend for what it was-a defence of the class interests of the bourgeoisie- 
and realised that its spokesmen were disguised enemies of Marxism, 
advocates of capitalism. 

In the autumn of 1894, at a meeting of a St. Petersburg Marxist 
circle, Lenin read a paper entitled "The Reflection of Marxism in 
Bourgeois Literature", concerning Struve's book Critical Remarks on 
the Subject of. Russia's Economic Development. In this paper Lenin 
sharply criticised the views of the "legal Marxists", who sought to rob 
Marxism of its revolutionary content, and misrepresent it in a liberal- 
bourgeois spirit. 

Inasmuch, however, as the "legal Marxists" opposed the Narodniks, 
Lenin considered it possible to enter into a temporary agreement with 
them for a joint struggle against Narodism, provided the Marxists 
were absolutely free to criticise the "legal Marxists' " political and 
theoretical views. Already in those years Lenin gave evidence of the 
flexibility of his tactics, of his ability to use even temporary and 
unreliable fellow travellers in the interest of the class struggle of the 
proletariat. As a result, a miscellany was published in the spring o 
1895 entitled Material for a Characterisation oi Our Economic Develop- 
ment and edited not only by Lenin, V. Starkov and S. Radchenko, but 
also by the "legal Marxists" P. Struve and R. Klasson. It included "Th 
Economic Content of Narodism and the Criticism of It in Mr. Struve' 
Book", an article by Lenin signed "K. Tulin". 

Afterwards, speaking of that agreement with the "legal Marxists", 
Lenin maintained that the question of the Marxists' attitude to 
temporary political alliances was fundamentally important. He pointed 
out that "only those who are not sure of themselves can fear to ente 
into temporary alliances even with unreliable people; not a single 
political party could exist without such alliances. The combination wi 1 
the legal Marxists was in its way the first really political alliance enten I 
into by Russian Social-Democrats. Thanks to this alliance, an astonish- 
ingly rapid victory was obtained over Narodism, and Marxist ideas . . . 
became very widespread."* 

It gave a sweeping criticism of Narodism and "legal Marxism". 

* V, I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 5. p. 362. 


contrasting them to the revolutionary class stand of Marxism. Lenin 
showed that the views of the "legal Marxists" boiled down to a laudation 
of capitalism, a desire to perpetuate it, to adapt Marxism and the 
working-class movement to the interests of the bourgeoisie. It was no 
accident that Struve urged that "we acknowledge our lack of culture 
and go and learn from capitalism." 

Lenin showed that Struve's line of argument was essentially anti- 
revolutionary, which was evident from Struve's bourgeois objectivism 
and his effort to obscure social contradictions and the struggle of the 
classes, "The main feature of the author's arguments," Lenin pointed 
out, ". • - is his narrow objectivism, which is confined to proving the 
inevitability and necessity of the process and makes no effort to 
reveal at each specific stage of this process the form of class contradic- 
tion inherent in it-an objectivism that describes the process in general, 
and not each of the antagonistic classes whose conflict makes up the 

In contrast to bourgeois objectivism, Lenin developed the principle 
of partisanship and the class character of social science, of philosophy. 
Unlike the objectivist, who confined himself to talking dispassionately 
"about the paths and fortunes of humanity", the materialist, Lenin 
wrote, must give an accurate characterisation of the course of social 
development in question, indicating which classes in particular promote 
that development and in whose interests it serves. 

Lenin stressed that materialism connotes partisanship, which means 
that in appraising a development a Marxist must explicitly and openly 
adopt the standpoint of a specific class. In his struggle against the 
"legal Marxists", Lenin defended the revolutionary essence of Marxism- 
the doctrine of the socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the 
proletariat-and developed this doctrine still further. 

Lenin stressed the necessity of adopting an uncompromising attitude 
towards all deviations from Marxism, of treasuring the theory of 
scientific socialism, elaborating it in a creative spirit and defending it 
against distortion and vulgarisation on the part of the opportunists and 

The tsarist censorship saw in the miscellany Material lor a 
Characterisation of Our Economic Development "a pernicious trend 
aimed at shaking the existing order". The censor's report concerning 
the book dealt mainly with K. Tuiin's article, which he described as 
the most outspoken and complete programme of the Marxists". The 
tsarist authorities banned the book, which was confiscated and burned. 
Only about 100 copies out of 2,000 were saved, and these were 
circulated secretly among the Social-Democrats of St. Petersburg and 
other cities. 

The "legal Marxists" were the first revisionists of Marxism on Russian 
s oil. But "legal Marxism", or Struvcism, which Lenin described as a 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 1, p. 499. 

reflection of Marxism in bourgeois literature, was an international as 
well as a Russian phenomenon. Lenin's struggle against it in Russia 
was also a struggle against international revisionism. 

Lenin's trip abroad. His meetings with Plekhanov. In the middle 
of February 1895 Lenin attended a conference in St. Petersburg o; 
members of the Social-Democratic groups of St. Petersburg. Moscow, 
Kiev and Vilno. The conference discussed the question of changing ove 
from the propaganda of Marxism in narrow circles to mass political 
agitation, and of publishing popular literature for the workers and 
establishing close contact with the Emancipation of Labour group. I. 
was decided to send a representative abroad, but owing to difference 
on matters of principle no agreement was reached on sending one 
person representing all the groups. Two men were therefore sen 
abroad-Lenin from the St. Petersburg Social-Democrats, and Y. Spo.r 
from the Moscow group. 

The question of changing over to mass agitation was discussed also 
at a joint conference of the St. Petersburg Social-Democrats and workers 
The hectographed pamphlet On Agitation, issued by the Vilno Socia 
Democrats, was read out and discussed. Some of those who attendee 
the conference considered the transition to new forms of political 
activity premature. But Lenin urged the necessity of such a transition. 
The workers attending the conference unanimously supported Lenin. 
and his motion was carried by a majority vote. Agitation by the Social- 
Democrats of St. Petersburg stimulated the growth of a mass working- 
class movement. 

The trip abroad was delayed, as Lenin fell ill with pneumonia and 
could not leave until the end of April. Ostensibly the object of thi 
trip was to take a convalescent holiday. Before going abroad Lenin 
visited Moscow. Ail frontier points were notified by a special policj 
circular of Lenin's intended trip, and agents abroad were instructed 
"to keep a careful watch of Lenin's activities and foreign connections 

Lenin's first meeting with Plekhanov took place in Geneva. After 
their talk Plekhanov said that he had never met such an outstanding 
representative of the revolutionary youth before. In one of his letters 
he wrote that he had seen many people from Russia during the many 
years he had been living abroad, but that none of them had inspired 
such hopes in him as did young Ulyanov. "As far as I remember," 
wrote Krzhizhanovsky, who was acquainted with the contents of 
Plekhanov's letter, "he also mentioned in that letter Lenin's amaxi: 
erudition, the consistency of his revolutionary outlook, and his dynamiJ 
energy."* Lenin, for his part, had the greatest respect and liking " 
Plekhanov, the first outstanding Russian Marxist. 

But already at that time Lenin and Plekhanov differed on a numbi. • 
of fundamental issues. Lenin developed and upheld the idea of the 
hegemony of the proletariat, and of the proletariat's alliance with the 

' Reminiscences of Lenin, Russ. cd., 1956, Part 1, p. 153. 


Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya 
Photo, 1895 

First leaflet 
From painting by F. Goluhkov 

easantry. He regarded this alliance as the main force guaranteeing 
\p overthrow of the exploiter system and the construction of a 

rnmunist society. As for Plekhanov, he had no faith in the strength 
of the working class or its ability to lead the peasants. He denied the 
•evolutionary character of the peasant class, and holding the Russian 
liberal bourgeoisie to be revolutionary, he assigned it the role of leader 
and motive force of the coming bourgeois-democratic revolution in 
Russia. After reading Lenin's article against the liberal Narodniks 
and the "legal Marxists" contained in the miscellany Material for a 
Characterisation ot Our Economic Development, which Lenin had brought 
with him, Plekhanov said ; "You . . , are turning your backs on the 
liberals, while we are facing them."* 

Lenin's trip abroad was of great importance not only for the activities 
of the Social-Democrats in Russia, but also for the Emancipation of 
Labour group, which from that time established closer contacts with 
the Social-Democrats working in Russia. It was at that time, too, that 
Lenin's proposal to publish popular collections of articles for the 
workers was adopted and the decision taken to publish abroad a 
miscellany entitled Rabotnik. 

After a stay of about three weeks in Switzerland Lenin left for Paris. 
There he met Paul Lafargue, son-in-law of Karl Marx and a prominent 
leader of the French and international working-class movement. Lafargue 
was a close friend and disciple of Marx and Engels, and one of the 
founders of the French Workers' Party. 

After nearly six weeks in Paris, Lenin went back to Switzerland. He 
spent several days in a nursing home, then left for Germany, where he 
rented a room in a Berlin suburb. He spent much of his time in the 
Berlin Imperial Library, where he studied foreign Marxist literature, 
and made notes and abstracts. At that time Lenin made a precis of the 
book The Holy Family or Critique of Critical Critique. Against Bruno 
Bauer & Co. by Marx and Engels. He studied the life and conditions 
of the German people and, as in Paris, attended workers' meetings. In 
Berlin he met Wilhelm Liebknecht, one of the leaders of the German 
Social-Democrats. Lenin had looked forward to meeting Frederick 
Engels, who was living in London at the time. But Engels was seriously 
ill and the meeting did not take place. 

Lenin returned to Russia early in September 1895. He succeeded in 
escaping the vigilance of the secret police, who had strict orders to 
search his luggage carefully at the frontier. He brought illegal Marxist 
literature from abroad concealed between the double lining of his 
suitcase. According to a report submitted to the Police Department 
nothing reprehensible was discovered despite the most careful examina- 
tion of his luggage". Before going back to St. Petersburg Lenin visited 
vilno, Moscow and Orekhovo-Zuyevo, where he met members of the 

* Correspondence between C. Plekhanov and P. Axelrod. Russ, cd., Moscow, 
^ Vol. I, p. 271. 

4 ~ !56S 49 

local Social-Democratic groups and made arrangements for contribu- 
tions to the foreign publication of the Rabotnik miscellany. On hi 
return to St. Petersburg the literature which he had brought wit* 
him from abroad was distributed among the Social-Democrats c 
St. Petersburg and other cities. 

In St. Petersburg Lenin was under secret surveillance of the police, 
but being well up in secrecy techniques, he was able to elude detection. 
In a number of workers' circles he was known as Nikolai Petrovich, 
and in the Narvskaya Zastava district as Fyodor Petrovich. He was 
familiar with the through yards of many residential blocks in St. 
Petersburg and was able to throw the spies off his track. During his 
stay in St. Petersburg he repeatedly changed his address to keep his 
whereabouts a secret. 

Owing to lack of funds, Lenin was obliged to rent a cheap room. In 
a letter home he complained: "The room next door is divided off by a 
very thin partition, so that I can hear everything, and sometimes I hav 
to run away from the balalaika which my neighbour strums right ove 
my ear."* Under these conditions he could do no work at home. And 
so he used to go to the library, where he often had meetings with Socia - 
Democrats. Lenin regularly visited the Imperial and other libraries and 
reading-rooms in St, Petersburg. He closely followed the Russian ai 
foreign press and all the latest books and magazines. 

In private life Lenin was a man of very simple habits. The followin j 
fact is highly characteristic of him. On his arrival in St. Petersburg / : 
started an account-book in which he made regular entries in the course 
of a month in order to plan his budget. On adding up his expense s, 
Lenin was annoyed to find them so high. In a letter to his mother he 
wrote: "I am spending too much-for example, I spent 1 ruble 36 kope 
on tram fares alone."** 

On his return from abroad Lenin found himself under special survc 
lance. The tsar's spies said boastfully: "We've now tracked down 
Ulyanov, a dangerous state criminal whose brother was hanged. Hl 3 
arrived from abroad and he won't get away from us," Lenin knew of 
the danger threatening him. But while taking all possible precautions, lie 
stepped up his revolutionary work among the St, Petersburg proletariat 

The League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class, 
In the autumn of 1895 a historic event took place in the life of t 
Russian Soeial-Democrats-all the Marxist circles of St. Petersbu; j 
united, under Lenin's leadership, into a single political organisation 
which was the embryo of the proletarian party in Russia. In December 
this organisation adopted the name of the League of Struggle for the 
Emancipation of the Working Class. 

The League of Struggle was led by a central group under Leni'-- 
Among its members were A. Vancyev, P. Zaporozhets, G. Krzhizhanov' 
sky, N. Krupskaya, L. Martov (Y. Zederbaum), A. Potrcsov, S. Radchc 1 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. cel.. Vol. 37. p. 17. 
"* Ibid., p. % 


A v. Starkov. It based its activities on the workers' factory study- 
circles, which united into district groups. The League adhered to the 
rinciple of centralism, and maintained strict discipline and close ties 
with the workers. It led the activities of Marxist circles and the strike 
movement, and published leaflets. All its publications were edited by 

^Early in November the League organised a strike at the Thornton 
Factory involving 500 weavers. It issued and distributed a leaflet 
"What the Weavers Are Demanding". A joint meeting of delegates of 
Social-Democratic groups and advanced workers of St. Petersburg was 
called in connection with the strike to ascertain what the situation was 
in the different districts and to draw up a plan of action. The meeting 
was attended by Lenin. Soon the League issued another leaflet "To the 
Working Men and Women of the Thornton Factory", written by Lenin. 
It called upon all the mill hands to support the striking weavers. "Let 
us, then, comrades, stand firm and steadfast and carry on to the very 
end, let us remember that we can improve our conditions only by our 
common and concerted efforts/'* it said. The leaflet made a strong 
impression on the workers, and strengthened their solidarity and 
staunchness. They won the strike. Their example inspired the workers 
in many other industrial establishments of St. Petersburg to fight. 

The activities of the League of Struggle, as Lenin pointed out, showed 
that the proletariat, led by the Social-Democrats, was a powerful 
political factor which the government could no longer ignore. 

It had always been a cherished dream of Lenin's to write for the 
workers. "There is nothing I would like so much as to write for the 
workers," he pointed out afterwards. In the autumn of 1895 he wrote 
the pamphlet Explanation oi the Law on Fines Imposed on Factory 
Workers. The question of fines agitated all workers at the time. The 
pamphlet gave a popular account of how the employers exploited the 
workers and by what means the proletariat should fight its oppressors. 

Lenin cited striking examples from the life of the workers to show 
that the government, which sided with the employers, would always 
pass laws that benefited the latter. The workers had only one way of 
fighting oppression by the government and the capitalists, and that was 
to take a common stand against the capitalists and the unfair conditions 
established by the law. The pamphlet was printed in 3,000 copies in the 
illegal printing plant of the Narodnaya Volya group and was widely 
circulated among the workers. 

Lenin's League of Struggle linked up the struggle of the workers for 
Pressing economic demands with the political struggle against tsarism 
and capitalist exploitation, It fulfilled a historical mission, for it was 
the first organisation in Russia to begin combining the ideas oi scientific 
socialism with the working-class movement. From then on the working- 
class movement in Russia developed under the banner of Marxism. 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 2, p. SI. 


The St. Petersburg League of Struggle served as a model for the 
amalgamation of workers' groups in similar leagues in other cities and 
regions of Russia. It was essential to establish solid ties among them. 
With this aim in view, the St. Petersburg League of Struggle decided to 
publish an illegal newspaper called Rabocheye Dyelo. Lenin collected 
material for the newspaper among the workers, and instructed other 
League members to do the same. He also edited letters about the working- 
class movement in Russia for Rahotnik, a non-periodical miscellany, 
whose publication was being prepared abroad by the Emancipation of 
Labour group. 

Upon Engels's death, Lenin wrote an article for this miscellany 
entitled "Frederick Engels", in which he described the great services 
which Engels had rendered the international proletariat. After Kar! 
Marx, wrote Lenin, Engels was the finest scholar and teacher of the 
proletariat in the whole civilised world. The article gave a profound 
and comprehensive characterisation of Engels's role. It stressed the 
importance of his writings, and told about the remarkable friendship o 
the two founders of scientific socialism. 

All the more important articles for the first issue of Rabocheye Dyelo 
were written by Lenin, among them "To the Russian Workers" (editc 
rial}, "What Are Our Ministers Thinking About?", and "The Yaroslavl 
Strike in 1895". The editorial explained the historic tasks of the 
working class in Russia, chief among which was the winning of political 
liberty. The first number of the newspaper was edited entirely by Lenin. 

At a meeting of the leading group of the League of Struggle, held in 
Krupskaya's flat on December 8, 1895, the copy for number one of 
Rabocheye Dyelo was discussed. This, in Lenin's words, was the first 
attempt of the Russian Social-Democrats of the nineties to set up an 
illegal Social-Democratic workers' newspaper. The issue was prepared 
in duplicate. Vaneyev took one copy for a final perusal before it went 
to press, and the other remained with Krupskaya, 

But Rabocheye Dyelo did not see the light of day. On the night of 
December 8 Lenin and a large group of his St. Petersburg League 
associates were arrested. At Vaneyev's flat, the police seized t 
manuscript of the first issue. Lenin was sent to a house of detention 
where he was placed in a solitary cell. The workers reacted to the 
arrest of Lenin and his associates by issuing on their own initiative a 
leaflet that was purely political in character. They mimeographed it and 
distributed it at the factories ia St. Petersburg. 

Behind prison bars. Even in prison Lenin carried on with his revolu- 
tionary work. He quickly found ways and means of directing the acti- 
vities of the League from behind prison bars. He wrote illegal pamphlets 
and leaflets and smuggled them out of prison. 

While in prison Lenin wrote a draft programme for the Party and 
explanatory notes to it. He gave a profound analysis of capitalism hi 
Russia and defined the basic tasks of the class struggle of the prole- 
tariat. He formulated in precise and clear terms the necessity for 


overthrowing the autocracy, to be followed by the overthrow of the rule 
of the capitalists, and by the transfer of power to the working class. 
He also set the task of abolishing private ownership of the means of 
production, and of building a socialist society. 

Lenin wrote these illegal documents with lemon juice or milk out of 
little "ink-wells" made of bread. Whenever he heard his jailers at the 
peep-hole he would immediately eat up his ink-well. "I have eaten six 
ink-wells today," he wrote jokingly in one of his letters. The recipients 
of this secret correspondence would warm the imdsible writing or dip 
the sheets in hot water to bring out the lines. 

While in prison Lenin continued his researches in the economic 
development of the country, and began to write his book The Develop- 
ment of Capitalism in Russia. In one of his letters he wrote: "I have a 
plan that has occupied my mind considerably ever since I was arrested, 
increasingly so as time passes. I have long been working on an economic 
problem (that of the marketing of the products of manufacturing 
industry within the country), have selected some literature, drawn up 
a plan for its analysis and have even done some writing with a view 
to having my work published in book form should its dimensions 
exceed those of a magazine article."* Lenin sent his comrades a list 
of the books he needed and his plan of work, and asked them to send 
him the books. With the help of relatives and friends, he began to receive 
the necessary literature from various libraries in St, Petersburg (those 
of the Academy of Sciences, the University, the Free Economic Society, 
etc.). It was apparently in prison that Lenin wrote the work Essays on 
Political Economy in the Early Nineteenth Century, which has so far 
not been found. 

Imprisoned though he was himself, Lenin was always thinking about 
ms comrades m the same plight- Every letter he sent out contained 
some request concerning a fellow-prisoner. Now it was for a fictitious 
nancee to be sent to visit a lonely comrade who had no relatives in 
own, now it was for somebody to be told through visiting relatives to 
ook tor letters on such-and-such a page, of such-and-such a book in 
tne prison library, now it was for warm clothes to be sent to so-and-so 
i-enin corresponded with imprisoned comrades through prison library 
books m which he used dots to mark off the letters forming the mes- 
sage. Krzhizhanovsky wrote that receiving and reading a letter of 

\T m i- V S Ilkc laking a bracin S' ^freshing drink, it bucked one up 
immediately and was a moral tonic. This man possessed such vast 

eserves ot moral strength, such an ability to raise the spirits of any 
Person who stood in need of it, that these qualities alone under any 

°rt ot conditions, and particularly prison conditions, made him an 
^dispensable comrade."** 

h\tl in es 4 _ l 1 abl 1 ishe J d J 01 ' h l mScIf in prison a ri 9 id re 9 ime helped 
_^bear the hardships of a prisoner's life. He spent most of the day 

** Z' L . Lenin ' Collected Works, 4th Russ. cd.. Vol. 37, p IS 
Reminiscences of Lenin, Russ. ed. r 1956, Pari 1, p. 155. 


working, and before bedtime he never missed doing his physic, 
exercises. "I'd limber up so well/' he afterwards recalled, "that I'd fee 
warm even in the bitterest cold, when the cell was like a block of ice, 
and I'd sleep far better after that."* 

Several more League members were arrested early in January 1896 
among them Babushkin; and in August Krupskaya was arrested. As 
soon as Lenin heard of this he got in touch with the arrested comrades. 
He continued to give advice and directions to those outside. 

Despite its heavy losses, the League of Struggle weathered the storm, 
because it had by that time become deeply rooted in the working-cL. 
movement. The advanced workers educated by Lenin's League form, 
new contacts, organised new study-circles, and extended agitation, 
propaganda and organising work among the masses. 

The summer of 1896 saw major strikes in St. Petersburg fchat 
subsequently spread to Moscow. The St. Petersburg League of Struggle 
launched agitation work on a large scale. It published as many 
thirteen leaflets in the course of one month. The strikes of 1896, Leu 
later wrote, "...ushered in an era of steadily mounting worker ' 
movement-the most potent factor in the whole of our revolution". 
"The inception of a mass working-class movement, with the participa- 
tion of Social-Democrats, dates from 1895-96, the time of the famous 
St. Petersburg strikes," he pointed out. At the turn of the century the 
proletariat of St. Petersburg took the lead of the working-class movemej I 
in Russia. 

The St, Petersburg period was a very important one in the life and 
work of Lenin. It was there that he established close contact with the 
working class and its foremost representatives. Being closely connected 
with the hereditary proletarians of the capital and thoroughly familiar 
with their needs and aspirations, Lenin grew in stature as an organiser 
and leader of the working class. At that time the Russian Sodal- 
Democrats, led by Lenin, changed over from circle propaganda to mai 
political agitation. 

It was in St. Petersburg that Lenin formed the League of Struggle 
for the Emancipation of the Working Class, the first embryo of a 
revolutionary Marxist party basing its activity on a mass working-cL 

Lenin's political and theoretical activities, his uncompromising struggle 
against opportunism, against attempts to distort the Marxist theory, 
work in educating the proletariat in the revolutionary spirit, his create -' 
application of Marxism to Russian conditions, and his scientific 
generalisation of the experience of the mass working-class moveir. 
in the country ushered in a new, Leninist phase in the development 
Marxism, in the activities of the Russian Marxists, and in the worki; 
class movement in Russia. 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 37, p. 82. 
** V. I, Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 13. p. 94, 

Chapter Three 

W ithout a revolutionary theory there can be no revolution- 
ary movement. 


After more than fourteen months' imprisonment Lenin was sentenced 
to three years' exile in Eastern Siberia under open police surveillance. 
The sentence was announced to him on February 13, 1897, and the next 
day he was released from prison. 

Like other of his comrades who had been released, Lenin was allowed 
to stay three days in St. Petersburg to arrange his personal affairs. He 
used that time to carry on revolutionary work and hold Social- 
Democratic meetings. During the discussion of questions of tactics and 
organisation at those meetings "serious differences of opinion were 
revealed and a heated controversy arose" between the "old" members 
°f the League (Lenin, Krzhizhanovsky, Starkov, Vaneyev and others) 
ar *d some of the "young" members. 

The differences centred on the tasks of the Social-Democrats in Russia, 
Much constituted the main issue. The "old" members insisted on the 
revolutionary character of Social-Democratic organisation as the political 
teader of the working class, while the "young" expressed narrow trade- 
In 10 w iSt views „ and denied the political tasks of the Social-Democrats. 

effect the "young" Leaguers were for abandoning the struggle for 


political liberty and socialism in favour of economic struggle, leaving 
political activity to the liberal bourgeoisie. They thereby greatly nar- 
rowed the tasks of the Russian proletariat and pushed it along the path 
of trade-unionism. The views of the "young" Leaguers were Economism 
in embryo, that opportunist trend in the Russian working-class movement 
which somewhat later became fairly widespread, and hampered the 
revolutionary education of the proletariat. 

The revolutionary Social-Democrats headed by Lenin countered these 
manifestations of Economism by stressing the need to consolidate the 
League of Struggle, extend its links with the foremost workers, and 
properly organise leadership of the workers' study-circles, mutual benefV 
societies, circles for propaganda among the students, and so on. The 
differences between the "old" and the "young" Leaguers showed thai 
two trends had arisen in the Russian Social-Democratic movement-thc 
revolutionary and the opportunist trends. Subsequently a sharp struggle 
arose between the two trends on fundamental issues. 

Exile. Arrival in Shushenskoye. On February 17, 1897, Lenin left 
St. Petersburg for his place of exile in Siberia. His mother got perm is 
sion for him to travel at his own expense instead of being transporter 
in the usual way. This relieved Lenin of the distressing experiences of 
travelling by stages from prison to prison. On his way to exile he 
visited his mother in Moscow, where he stayed for a few days. He 
used this opportunity to do some work in the Rumyantsev Museum 
reading-room, where he collected material on the development of 
capitalism in Russia. 

Lenin left Moscow on the night o£ February 22, and arrived in 
Krasnoyarsk early in March. There, while waiting to be assigned to Ins 
place of exile, and then for first open water to enable him to travel 
further by boat, he lived in the house of K. Pop ova, which was knov 
in the town as a refuge for political exiles. The place was always 
crowded. Lenin met local and exiled Social-Democrats there, as well i s 
Polish revolutionaries and Narodnaya Volya members. He met 
writer V. Anuchin, the exiles V. Bukshnis, P. Krasikov and others. 

The local doctor V. Krutovsky introduced Lenin to the Krasnoyarsk 
merchant G. Yudin, the owner of a large, and for those days, rg 
library of over a hundred thousand books. Every day, first thing in the 
morning, Lenin went to Yudin' s library, two versts from the town, and 
worked there till the evening. He also visited the town library. Thus, 
even on his way to exile, he never missed an opportunity to continue 
with his work. 

On April 24 Lenin was officially informed that he was to be deported 
to the village of Shushenskoye in the Minusinsk District, Yen 
Gubernia. Exiled Decembrists* lived in this village between the thirties 
and fifties of the nineteenth century, and M. Butashevich-Petrashevsk;', 

* Decembrists- Russian revolutionaries from among the nobles, who raised 38 
armed revolt against serfdom and the autocracy in December 1825. 


a prominent leader of the Russian emancipation movement, lived there 
in exile in the sixties. 

Lenin left Krasnoyarsk by steamboat on April 30 together with 
Krzhizhanovsky and Starkov, who had also been sentenced to three 
years' exile in Siberia and were on their way to the village of Tesin- 
skoye. It took them a week to get to Minusinsk, and 'from there 
escorted by two gendarmes, Lenin travelled by cart to Shushenskoye He 
arrived at his destination on the evening of May 8 and was lodged in 
the cottage ot a peasant named Ziryanov. The small room which Lenin 
occupied contained a wooden bed, a table and four chairs. Lenin received 
an exiles allowance of eight rubles a month, and he lived mainly on 
this money during his period of exile. A man of simple tastes and 
habits, he could make do with very little when he had to 

In those days Shushenskoye was an out-of-the-way village,* over 600 
versts from the railway. It took about a fortnight for the mail to arrive 
from Central Russia. No one in the village subscribed to any 
newspapers and for more than a month Lenin went without seeing them 
It was not until the middle of June that he started getting Russkiye 
VedomosU. I read the paper avidly-an understandable reaction against 
the long reading gap," he wrote home. ^axn^i 

In a letter to his sister, Lenin described Shushenskoye as follows- 
n?H A% ? % VlUage ^ i!, CVeral StreetS ' ■« of them pretty muddy 

it lir^ 11 ! A* 6 ™ 1 - f ° r Le , nin to be in cxile <- thc ***** thing about 
At fi.l ^ m dlss ° ciatl °V r ° m dircct work ™<>ng the proletariat 
" % COuld A not b f r ^ look at the maps of European Russia and 

& MiTu de ,? e , fe , eI S ° Sad When 1 um ' olled ™*PS and 

looked at all the black dots on them." he wrote to his sister. "But Ive 
got used to it now and can examine the maps more calmly "** 
bl ?SE 1 n rd co J nditions of esife Lenin never lost his inexhausti- 

NorTr T' D "P°*?cnpy and despair were foreign to his nature 
Nor d d exile affect his extraordinary capacity for work He started a 
vo lummous correspondence with exiled Social-Democrats' Scattered all 
ovei Siberia and the North. He corresponded with N Fedoscvcv in 
Verkholensk, with Y Martov in Turukhansk, with A. PotreJov n 
tttel* Malchenko and M. Grigoryev in Archangel 
the M? W1 h i^ dla Kni P°vich in Astrakhan, and many other exiles in 

Philo^ madG a Prof ° Und Stud * of ** 3 

Pmiosophy and frequently corresponded on this subject with F Lcnqmk 

^owas_ a l so m exile. Unfortunately, this correspondence has noi Tien 

5 We has a milk cannery liJSri J i r ? gu l ar bus servicc - 

a House of Culture and^: y' ,1 S ' * » COndar Z Scho ° l an a 9»^ultural college. 
^^^^Z^JSg" house in which Lenin lh?cd 

V. L Lenin. Collected Works, 4th Russ. cd.. Vol. 37, p. 125. 


found According to Lengnik, Lenin, in these letters, came out sharply 
against idealism, which he opposed by the materialist philosophy ol 
Marx and Engcls. In those days Lenin spoke about his philosophical 
knowledge with characteristic modesty: "...I am only too well aware 
of my lack of a philosophical education and I do not intend to write 
on these subjects until I have learned more. That is just what I am 
doing-I have started with Holbach and Helvetius, and am now taking 
up Kant. I have got hold of the chief works of the chief philosophers. 
On Lenin's initiative, an exchange of literature was organised among 

th Lenin ^maintained contacts with the centres of the working-class 
movement in Russia-St. Petersburg and Moscow, and with Marxists 
in Nizhny Novgorod and Voronezh. Through his sister Anna Yelizarova 
he arranged a regular correspondence with the Emancipation of Labour 

91 Lenin carried on a regular and frequent correspondence with his 
relatives, especially his mother. His letters to her were full of tender 
love and care. He tried as hard as he could to reassure her and cheer 
her up. His usual form of address was "Dear Mummy". He was con 
cerned about her health and begged her not to worry about him. He wrote 
her long letters describing his life, his thoughts and plans. Lenin'- 
mother shared her children's ideas and appreciated their revolution ar 
aspirations. She tried to help them bear the hardships of imprisonmcn 
or exile. In trying to obtain permission to visit her children, she waited 
patiently in the reception-rooms of the police authorities and took lone, 
walks round the prison in the hope of catching a glimpse of a dear face 
through one of the barred windows. During one of her numerous visits to 
the Police Department the Director there threw cynically into her face: 

"You can be proud of your offspring-one of them was hanged and 
another one is also asking for the rope." 

To which Lenin's mother answered with dignity: 

"Yes, I am proud of my children t" 

The whole Ulyanov family helped Lenin in his work. Through his 
relatives and friends he obtained the literature he needed. They sei 
him statistical handbooks, catalogues, books on political economy an 
philosophy. At the same time he continued to study the works of Ma 
and Engels. In a letter to his elder sister he asked her to send him W 
following books, published in French: The Poverty ol Philosophy 
The Critique ol the Hegelian Philosophy ol Right by Karl Marx an ' 
Force and Economy Used in Establishing the New German Empire \ 
Frederick Engels. Lenin followed the latest publications of Marxis 
literature in foreign languages, as well as the Russian and foreign pre 
He was interested to read the report of the Stuttgart Congress of the 
German Social-Democratic Party in a German newspaper, and asked 
his relatives to send him verbatim reports of parliamentary debated 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Wovks, 4th Russ. ed., Vol. 34. p. 20. 


and literature on the economics of agriculture in Western Europe and 
on the history of forms of industry, 

Lenin subscribed to many newspapers and periodicals, including 
Russkoye Bogatstuo, Vestnik Finansov, Nouoye Slovo, Nauchnoye 
Obozreniye, Niva, etc., as well as the German magazines Archiu fur 
soziale Gesetzgebung und Statistik, Soziale Praxis, Die Neue Zeit, 
frankfurter Zeitung, and others. All this enabled him to keep abreast 
of events and follow the working-class movement and economic 
developments in Russia and Western Europe. 

While in exile Lenin continued his study of agrarian relations in 
Russia, which he had started in the Volga region. He now made a 
careful study of Siberian rural life and the conditions of the peasantry. 
In this he was helped by his close ties with the peasants of Shushen- 
skoye. The villagers had great respect for Lenin and sought his help. 
Being a political exile, he had no right to engage in legal practice, but 
unofficially he gave the peasants advice and taught them how to protect 
themselves against the arbitrary actions of the local authorities and the 
rich. On one occasion he helped a worker to win his suit against his 
employer, the owner of a gold mine who had sacked him without 
paying him his wages. After this Lenin's prestige with the local 
population rose still higher. People from other neighbourhoods started 
coming to him for advice. 

"... When I was in exile in Siberia/' Lenin recalled twenty-five years 
later, "I had occasion to act in the capacity of a lawyer, I was not a 
certified lawyer, because, being summarily exiled, I was not allowed to 
practise; but as there was no other lawyer in the region, people came 
and confided their troubles to me/'* 

Two other exiles lived in Shushenskoye besides Lenin. They were 
I. Prominski, a Polish worker, who was exiled in 1895 for taking part 
in the Lodz organisation of the Polish Social-Democrats, and a Putilov 
worker, a Finn named Oscar Engberg, who was exiled in the autumn 
of 1897 for taking part in a strike. Prominski had a large family-a wife 
and six children, all of whom lived with him in exile. Lenin became close 
friends with these people. He never missed an opportunity to do 
something that would gladden Prominski' s children, and wrote home 
asking that all the children's picture books available in the family 
should be sent out to him. He helped Engberg to master the fundamen- 
tals of Marxism. When parting with them at the end of his term of 
exile, Lenin gave each of his comrades a signed photograph of himself. 

The arrival of Krupskaya. Krupskaya was sentenced to three years' 
e xilc in connection with the League of Struggle case and was banished 
tc J Ufa Gubernia. She asked for permission to go to the village of 
Shushenskoye instead, on the grounds of being Lenin's fiancee. Lenin, 
Jor his part, wrote to the Director of the Police Department asking for 
N fiancee to be allowed to move to Shushenskoye. Their request was 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Wovks, Vol. 33, p. 453. 


granted. Lenin looked forward eagerly to Krupskaya's arrival. He had 
declared his love to her in an invisible ink letter when she was still in 
prison in St. Petersburg. Afterwards he wrote to her from Shushenskoye, 
asking her to join him there and become his wife. Krupskaya loved 
Lenin deeply and tenderly, and in reply to his letter wrote half- 
banteringly: "Well, if wife, then wife let it be." Lenin often remembered 
this reply in after years. 

Krupskaya arrived in Shushenskoye early in May 1898 together with 
her mother Yelizaveta Vasilyevna. Quite a crowd gathered in the 
Ziryanovs' cottage, all curious to see the newcomers. The village girls 
gazed wonderingly at Lenin's fiancee, a slender girl with a long thick 
plait, the like of whom they had never seen before. 

The police authorities warned Krupskaya that if she did not marry 
immediately she would be sent back to Ufa. However, it was not until 
July 10 that Lenin and Krupskaya got married. At first they continued to 
live in Ziryanov's cottage, and then moved to the cottage of a peasant 
woman named P. Petrova. After a while they set up house on their own, 
and planted a small kitchen-garden, as well as flowers and hops, Krup- 
skaya's mother did the housekeeping. The young couple lived very hap- 
pily. Thirty years later Krupskaya wrote in her reminiscences: "Tho^ 
days of primitive integrity and the sheer joy of living rise so vividly 
before my eyes. Everything was so primitive and natural-the scenery, 
the sorrel, the mushroom gathering, hunting, skating, the narrow circle ol 
friends, the holiday trips we took together ... to Minusinsk, the walks 
we had together, the songs we sang, the naive fun we had together, at 
home-Mother, the primitive household, a sort of semi-natural domestic 
economy, our life together-our work, our common experiences and 
reactions: our indignation and disgust on getting Bernstein, etc."* 

From Krupskaya Lenin learned of the First Congress of the R.S.D.L.P.. 
held in Minsk in March 1898. The news of the Congress, whic 
announced the founding of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, 
rejoiced Lenin, who identified himself with the main propositions of 
the Congress "Manifesto". The First Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. was c 
great historic importance, for it closed the "period of childhood and 
adolescence" of the Russian Social-Democratic movement. 

Shortly after the Congress the Central Committee of the Party was 
arrested. The tsar's government also struck out at many local Pari r 
organisations. The Marxist organisations found themselves disunited 
again and there began ideological vacillation. This meant, in effect, 
that no party in the sense of a single centralised organisation had be ' 
created. It was not until the Second Party Congress that the task c 
founding a real party in accordance with Lenin's political and organisa- 
tional principles was tackled. 

Lenin and Krupskaya worked hard in exile. They translated foreign 
books into Russian together, and copied out Lenin's writings. In 

* Shwniye Bolshevichki, Moscow, 1958, p. 35. 

Shushenskoye, Krupskaya wrote her first pamphlet entitled The Working 

When they were not working they took long walks in the woods, on 
the river and in the fields. Lenin loved the great Siberian wilds and 
the mighty Yenisei. Krzhizhanovsky wrote that "Lenin was a great lover 
of clean frosty air, brisk walking, ice skating, chess and hunting". Lenin 
went in for sports a good deal. He attached great importance to physical 
exercise, and believed that a revolutionary whose life was dedicated 
to struggle and was full of hardships and adversities should be 
physically fit, strong and tough. 

In the evenings Krupskaya and Lenin often enjoyed rereading 
Pushkin, Lermontov, Nekrasov and other Russian classics. Lenin's 
album, which he took with him into exile, contained, in addition to 
Marx and Engels, the photographs of Chernyshevsky, Pisarev, Herzen 
and Zola. He thought very highly of the latter, both as a writer and a 
progressive public figure. 

Meetings with fellow exiles. Visits by comrades and trips to see them 
were joyous, if rare events in a life devoted entirely to work. In 
September 1897, Lenin spent two days in Minusinsk, where he met the 
local exiles. Among them were the well-known Narodnaya Volya revo- 
lutionary A, Tyrkov, the Warsaw worker M. Blaze jewski, who took 
part in the Polish uprising in 1863, Felix Kohn, a prominent leader of 
the revolutionary working-class movement, and others. From Minusinsk 
Lenin went to the village of Tesinskoye, where Krzhizhanovsky and 
Starkov lived; he had permission to spend five days there. A month 
later Lenin visited Minusinsk again, this time on his own, without per- 
mission. During one of his visits he met N. Martyanov, the organiser 
of the Museum of Local Studies, which now bears his name. Martyanov's 
museum played an important role in the life of the exiles. It was a 
favourite haunt of theirs. A highly educated man of progressive ideas 
Martyanov was a true friend of the exiled revolutionaries. F. Kohn 
wrote that every single exile he knew spoke highly of Martyanov. 

Sometimes Lenin received visits from his St. Petersburg comrades, 
who lived in the neighbourhood, such as Krzhizhanovsky, Starkov' 
vaneyev, Kurnatovsky, Lcpeshinsky, Silvin and other Social-Democrats 
dearly eighteen months after his arrival at his place of exile Lenin 
contrived to visit Krasnoyarsk for a few days. He met the local political 
exiles there, and attended their gatherings. He recollected that trip with 
Pleasure. "Although there were few of our people in Krasnoyarsk it 
was pleasant to meet them after Shusha and chat about things other 
nan hunting and local 'news'."* On one occasion Krzhizhanovsky 
nvented an excuse to enable Lenin to visit him. He wrote that there 
^as a hill in Tesinskoye, where he lived, which was of geological 
nffi reSt ' suggested that Lenin should write to the district police 
°iftcer, saying that he wished to explore that hill. Lenin did so, just for 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. cd., Vol. 37. pp. 117-18. 


fun, and asked for his wife to be allowed to go with him as his assistant 
To Lenin's surprise and amusement, the officer not only gave his 
permission, but sent it down by messenger. Once Lenin went to scl 
Kurnatovsky, who was working at a sugar refinery twenty versts away, 
Lenin inspected the refinery with keen interest. The working conditions 
there were so bad that even the factory manager, in a conversation with 
Lenin, was forced to admit it. 

Many revolutionaries took their exile very hard. Many o£ them 
ruined their health and quite a few of them died in exile. Fedoseyev 
committed suicide in Verkholensk in the summer of 1898. ConstanL 
persecutions by the police, the slanderous attacks upon him by one o 
the exiles, and the dire poverty which sapped his strength and made 
him unfit for work was more than he could bear. Lenin was deeply 
upset by the news of Fcdoseyev's death. In the autumn of 1893 he fiai 
made an attempt to see Fedoseyev and had gone specially to Vladimir 
in the hope of meeting him there, but Fedoseyev was in prison at the 
time and the meeting did not take place. While in exile Lenin correspond 
ed with Fedoseyev on cardinal questions of Marxist theory. Fedoseyev 
left all his manuscripts to Krzhizhanovsky, with whom he was very 
friendly, and asked him to tell Lenin that he was dying "with complch 
and supreme faith in life and not from disillusionment". The death e 
Fedoseyev was a great loss to the Russian Social-Democratic movement. 

About a year later the exiled Social-Democrats made a collection for 
a tombstone for Fedoseyev. One day the gendarmes intercepted the 
receipt of a letter which the exile Lyakhovsky had written to Lenin. The 
letter was about collecting money for a tombstone, but this was a good 
enough excuse for the gendarmes to come down on Lenin and mah 
a house-search. It happened on May 2, 1899. Luckily for Lenin and 
Ki'upskaya, everything went off well. The gendarmes never found 
Lenin's illegal correspondence. Lenin pushed a chair up for the gendarme- 
to stand on, and they began their search from the top shelves of his 
bookcase. They got so tired examining the statistical handbooks, which 
were Greek to them, that they did not even look at the lower shclv 
where they would have found the illegal correspondence the tsarist 
secret police was so interested in. Had the gendarmes discovered tfc 
correspondence, Lenin and Krupskaya would certainly have had thf ' 
term of exile extended by several years. 

The Russian Social-Democrats sustained another loss in Scptcm'j r 
1899 when Vaneyev, an admirable Russian revolutionary, died of e;o " 
sumption in the village of Ycrmakovskoye. Prison and exile had killed 
him. Lenin attended the funeral of his comrade and made a speech over 
his grave. 

Great courage, great moral and physical strength were required : .o 
bear all the hardships of exile and return to one's place in the 
revolutionary battle ranks. 

The tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats. In the difficult conditions 
of exile in the Siberian wilds Lenin developed tremendous thcorctk il 


activity. During that period, in connection with the lapid growth of 
capitalism and the development of the working-class movement, the 
ouestion of applying the Marxist theory to Russian conditions loomed 
large before the Russian Marxists. It was Lenin who gave a theoretical 
substantiation of the paths the revolutionary movement would take 
in Russia and who worked out the ideological principles of a Marxist 

During his exile Lenin often worked far into the night, the light in 
his window glimmering amid the brooding darkness of the sleeping 
village. Shchipachov's poem "The House in Shushenskoye" contains the 
following lines : 

The candle burns; the shadows shrink and quiver. 
Around the village raging blizzards whirl- 
Here, next to Lenin, wrapt in thought and study. 
Through Shushenskoye runs the axis of the world. 
Midnight long past, the snow obscures the windows 
But still he writes and writes- tor time is dear. 
Through nineteenth century windows blurred by snowstorms 
O Twentieth Century, he sees you true and clear! 
He sees, he knows what Russia's strength will lie in, 
What wondrous flame her brilliant tuture lights. 
Although the purple ink is only drying 
Already deathless are the word 

Among the works written by Lenin in exile, special mention should 
be made of his pamphlet The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats 
(1897). In the prefaces to the second and third editions of the pamphlet, 
Lenin stressed that the author had "summed up only the 'early 
experience' of my party activity" and that the pamphlet "gives only a 
general outline of the tasks of the Social-Democracy", which were 
consistently elaborated in the subsequent period. Lenin propounded the 
important thesis that an indissoluble connection existed between the 
socialist and democratic tasks of a Marxist party and that they must 
not be treated as opposites. A proper understanding of their connection 
and interrelation was particularly important in the conditions prevailing 
in Russia, where a struggle had to be carried on both against tsarism 
and against capitalism. Hence, the. object of the Social-Democrats' 
activity was to organise the class struggle of the proletariat and guide 
lt m both its manifestations: the democratic (struggle against the 
autocracy and the landowners, and establishment of a democratic 
republic), and the socialist (struggle against the capitalists, and organi- 
sation of a socialist society). 

str^ p 1 am 1 pllIet The Tasks o[ the Russian Social-Democrats demon- 
anrl ™ fading role of the proletariat in the revolutionary movement, 
«a upheld the idea of the hegemony of the working class in the 


forthcoming revolution in Russia. Lenin emphasised that the working 
class was the only thoroughly consistent revolutionary force, a force 
rallying behind it the peasant masses, who were hostile to tsarism, and 
that the overthrow of tsarism was the first step on the path of struggle 
for socialism. "The proletariat alone can be the vanguard fighter to:- 
political liberty and for democratic institutions. Firstly, this is because 
political tyranny bears most heavily upon the proletariat. . . . Secondly, 
the proletariat alone is capable of bringing about the complete democra 
tisation of the political and social system, since this would place Ih, 
system in the hands of the workers."* Lenin laid particular emphasis 
on the importance of the party principle and the independent positioi! 
of the Social-Democrats. The Social-Democrats, he said, supported all the 
political opposition elements, but this support did not imply am 
concessions of principle in programmes and theories that were alien to 

In this pamphlet Lenin pointed out how essential revolutionary 
theory was for the emancipation struggle of the proletariat, and advance t 
the well-known thesis, which became a guiding principle for all 
Marxists, that "without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolu- 
tionary movement",** Lenin consistently developed this thesis in his 
later works, in which he stressed the extreme importance of revolution- 
ary theory for a proletarian party, Marxists, Lenin pointed out, shouk 
draw all their convictions from revolutionary theory, and should proceed 
from it in their practical activities. 

Lenin called upon the Social-Democratic groups and workers' circles 
scattered throughout Russia to found "a single Social-Democratic Labour 

The pamphlet was first published in Geneva in 1898 by the Emant. 
pation of Labour group and was widely read by the Social-Democrat:, 
and foremost workers of Russia. It was found during house-searches 
and arrests in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Smolensk, Kazan, Orel, Kiev, 
Vilno, Feodosia, Irkutsk, Archangel, Sormovo, Kovno and other tow- 
It did much to promote the political and economic struggle of the 
working class and disseminate the ideas of Marxism, and helped to 
create a proletarian party. 

While upholding the purity of revolutionary theory, Lenin constantly 
stressed the need to cany forward Marxist theory. 

"We do not regard Marx's theory," he wrote, "as something completed 
and inviolable; on the contrary, we are convinced that it has only laid 
the foundation stone of the science which socialists must develop in 
all directions if they wish to keep pace with life. We think that an 
independent elaboration of Marx's theory is especially essential for 
Russian socialists; for this theory provides only general guiding 
principles, which, in particular, arc applied in England differently 

* V, I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 2, p. 336. 

* Ibid., p. 343. 


Lenin with a group of prominent members of the St. Petersburg League of Struqqle 
tor the Emancipation of the Working Class 

Photo, J897 

than in France, in France differently than in Germany, and in Germany 
differently than in Russia."* 

Lenin's own writings were a further independent elaboration of 
Marx's theory. They constituted a guide to action for the proletariat 
of Russia and its party during three revolutions. They are supreme 
examples of the further theoretical development of Marxism, of its 
enrichment on the basis of the generalised experience of the world 
proletariat's class struggle, on the basis of new data concerning the 
economic and political life of Russia and other countries. Leninism is 
of international significance. 

"The Development of Capitalism in Russia." In exile Lenin completed 
his classic work The Development oi Capitalism in Russia, which dealt 
the final blow to Narodism and defeated "legal Marxism". The draft of 
the book (originally entitled The Process oi the Formation oi a Home 
Market lor Large-Scale Industry) was ready early in August 1898. After 
that Lenin proceeded to give it the finishing touches. Krupskaya wrote 
to Lenin's mother in October 1898 that Lenin was "up to his ears in his 
markets and is writing from morning till night". The first two chapters 
were finished in November, copied out by Krupskaya in separate 
writing-books and sent to Lenin's relatives to be handed over to the 
publisher. "Today I am mailing to Mother's address two copybooks of 
my 'markets'/' Lenin wrote to his elder sister. "These are the first two 
chapters, approximately a quarter or one-fifth of the whole book. There 
are altogether eight chapters, and I am now finishing the third, so that 
it will all be ready probably by January, since Nadezhda is copying it 
out fairly quickly as I go along."** 

Lenin finished the last two chapters and the appendices at the end 
of January 1899. He wanted his book on the development of capitalism 
in Russia to be intelligible not only to learned specialists, but chiefly 
to the wide circles of the revolutionary intellectuals and the advanced 
workers. He showed chapters of his book to his close friends in exile. 
He attached great importance to the opinions of his fellow thinkers. 
Krupskaya read the whole book in the manuscript. "I am acting the 
'uncomprehending reader'," she wrote, "and have to judge whether the 
subject of 'markets' is expounded lucidly enough. I try to be as 
uncomprehending' as I can, but I can find no particular fault with 

To arrange for the publication of the book from exile was no easy 
task. Lenin's relatives and friends helped him. He sent the manuscript 
to his sister Anna Yelizarova in Podolsk, who did the proof -reading for 
him. The proof-reading of the tabular statements was done by the 
statistician V. Ionov, a Samara acquaintance of Lenin. The book was 
°eing published in St. Petersburg, and Anna Yelizarova went there 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 4, pp. 211-12. 
*** Ibid ^ ni £ 8 CoUected W ****' 4th Russ - cd - Vo1 - » P. 122. 


There was some delay in deciding on the book's title. Modest and 
self-exacting as he was, Lenin refused for a long time to entitle hi 
book The Development of Capitalism in Russia. He believed that "tfci 
is too bold, too sweeping and pretentious. I think On the Question of 
the Development of Capitalism in Russia is more suitable."* Neil'- , 
did Lenin like the suggestion that with the title The Development oi 
Capitalism in Russia the book would sell faster. ". . .It is extremely 
difficult, indeed impossible, to answer all minor and particular questions 
from hei'e/' he wrote to his mother. "They should be settled on ■ 
spot. Therefore, I do not want to cavil at the change of the title, 
although I do not like it; nor do I like the suggestion that it will 'sell' 
better with a broad title. The simpler title was chosen deliberately. But 
since it remains in the subtitle it doesn't really matter."** The book The 
Development of Capitalism in Russia (The Process of the Formation ol 
a Home Market for Large-Scale Industry) came off the press in Mai 
1899 under the pen-name of "Vladimir llyin". The 2,400 edition so 
out very quickly. 

The book was the result of over three years' research. This important 
work was a direct continuation of Marx's Capital. Lenin drew on his 
profound knowledge of life and used hundreds of books and amp 
statistical evidence to trace the general objective laws o£ the capitalist 
mode of production, which manifested themselves strikingly in 
course of Russia's capitalist development. Lenin's analysis of the 
problem of the formation of a home market was an important eontri 1 
tion to Marx's economic doctrine. Lenin examined the NarodniKV 
theoretical errors on the question of the home market and the develop- 
ment of capitalism in Russia, and showed that the problem of the home 
market was inseparable from that o£ the development of capitalism, 
that the formation of a home market in capitalist production was base & 
on a process of small farmers splitting up into agricultural cmrV\ 
and hired proletarians. "The 'home market' for capitalism is created by 
growing capitalism itself, which deepens the social division of labour 
and resolves the direct producers into capitalists and workers."*** 

On the basis of carefully studied and verified statistical data, Lenin 
gave a true picture of Russia's economic development, and a Mar- t 
scientific analysis of the process of differentiation among the pcasar 
The peasant, he showed, was subordinated to the market, and was 
dependent on it as regards both his personal consumption and his 

Lenin disclosed in the socio-economic relations of the Russian count 
side all those contradictions which are inherent in every commodity 
economy and every kind of capitalism, namely, competition, a tendency 
towards the concentration of production in the hands of a minority, 
transition of the mass of small producers, the peasants, into the ranks 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works. 4th Russ. cd.. Vol. 37, p. 162. 
** Ibid., p. 147. 
*** V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 3, p. 69. 


of the proletariat and semi-proletariat, and their exploitation by the 
capitalist and the kulaks. 

The continuous and rapid differentiation of the peasantry ("deoeas- 
antising") created two new diametrically opposite types of rural 
population-the bourgeoisie, or kulaks, on the one hand, and the rural 
proletariat, the class of hired labourers having allotments, on the other- 
It was this differentiation o£ the peasantry that created a home market 
for capitalism. 

Lenin examined the inner economic structure of peasant and landowner 
farming, showed the changes that were taking place in agricultural 
production, and revealed the process of gradual transition of the 
landowners from the corvee to capitalist economy based on the wide 
use of agricultural machines and hired labour. 

In this book Lenin gave a vivid picture of how and in what direction 
the various aspects of the Russian economy were developing, including 
industrial production, of their interconnection and interdependence, and 
of the brutal exploitation of the working people. The post-Reform 
epoch,* he wrote, differed radically from the previous epochs in Russian 
history. The Russia of the wooden plough and the flail, of the water- 
mill and the hand-loom, was becoming a Russia of the iron plough and 
the threshing-machine, of the steam-mill and the power-loom. 

At the same time Lenin noted that Russia still lagged far behind the 
other capitalist countries in her economic development. That develop- 
ment was admittedly slow compared with the rate of development which 
could be achieved under the existing level of technology and culture. 
"And it cannot but be slow, for in no single capitalist country has 
there been such an abundant survival of ancient institutions that are 
incompatible with capitalism, retard its development, and immeasurably 
worsen the condition of the producers, who 'suffer not only from the 
development of capitalist production, but also from the incompleteness 
of that development'."** 

Lenin came to the conclusion that there were two possible ways for 
the capitalist development of Russia's agriculture. One was slow 
transformation of the old landowner economy, bound as it was by 
thousands of threads to serfdom, into a capitalist economy. The other 
was revolutionary destruction of every vestige of serfdom, primarily 
me landed estates. This alternative path offered an opportunity for the 
speediest and freest development of the productive forces on a capitalist 
oasis, and created favourable conditions for the working class sub- 
3 16 ? y accom P lishin <J its fundamental task-the overthrow of capitalism 
ana the reorganisation of the country's economy on socialist lines. 

It was important for the theory and practice of the revolutionary 
Juggle to take a correct view of the destiny of capitalism. The question 
^as, which class must and could accomplish a radical reorganisation 

** J h f . the *8°5? Rowing the abolition of serfdom in Russia (1861). 
V. I. Lcnm, Collected Works, Vol. 3. p. 599. 


of society, what social force the revolutionaries should rely on and 
what were the prospects and conditions for the victory of the coming 

Lenin focussed his attention on these points, and showed that a great 
people's revolution under the leadership of the proletariat was maturing 
in Russia. 

The Development oi Capitalism in Russia builds up a well-reasoned 
exhaustive economic argument in support oi the idea oi an alliance oi 
the working class and the peasantry, the idea oi the hegemony ot th 
proletariat in the coming revolution. Lenin showed that the ranks oi 
the proletariat were growing swiftly and steadily in town and country 
alike, that the working class of Russia was becoming a tremendous 
political force. In his preface to the second edition Lenin, on the basis 
of the experience of the first Russian revolution, laid special emphasis 
on the leading role of the working class, "The strength of the proletaria 
in the process of history/' he wrote, "is immeasurably greater than its 
share in the total population."* He showed that it was not only p 
question of the proletariat's growing numerical strength, but of its 
concentration in large factories and major industrial centres, as well as 
of its alliance with the peasantry, together with whom it constituted the 
majority of the population. This important thesis of Leninism was proved 
correct by the subsequent revolutionary struggle of the Russian prole 
tariat, which scored epoch-making victories despite the fact that Li 
made up a comparatively small proportion of the country's total 
population. It was on the basis of Lenin's scientific analysis of Russia's 
socio-economic system and class structure that the Bolsheviks elaborated 
their strategy and tactics in the first Russian revolution. 

His analysis of the economic development of Russia enabled Lenin, 
in the first place, to deal the final blow both to Narodism and to th 
"legal Marxists" and to show that their views were utterly untenable; 
secondly, to prove on the basis of economic data the historical role of 
the working class as the leading political force in society; and thirdly, 
to demonstrate the role of the peasantry as an ally of the proletari. 
Lenin's book is an outstanding scientific research, every conclusion d 
which is documented by a wealth of factual material. It is an example 
of the use of theory as a weapon of revolutionary practice. The content -> 
of the book prove irrefutably that under capitalist domination the 
masses are inevitably doomed to exploitation and poverty and that th? 
tyranny of the landowners and the bourgeoisie can only be abolished 
through revolution, through socialism. 

Lenin's political and economic substantiation of the leading role of 
the proletariat in the revolution dealt a blow at the opportunists a 11 
over the world, who asserted that the proletariat could not and should 
not fight for power and for socialism so long as it constituted a 

• V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 3, p. 31. 


minority in the country. Lenin smashed these false allegations of the 

During his three years in exile Lenin wrote over thirty books and 
articles, in which he outlined the paths of revolutionary struggle of the 
working class, elaborated the programme and tactics of the Party, and 
fought against the Economists. Skilfully evading the tsarist censorship, 
he used the legal journals of the day for the propaganda of revolutionary 

The idea of publishing his articles in book form had occupied Lenin's 
thoughts since the beginning of 1898. He was able to realise his plan. 
His first book of collected articles appeared in St. Petersburg in October 
1898, under the title of Economic Studies and Essays, signed "Vladimir 
Ilyin". It included "A Characterisation of Economic Romanticism", 
"Gems of Narodnik Project-Mongering", "The Heritage We Renounce" 
and other articles written in exile. 

Against the revisionist critics of Marxism. Lenin gave his attention 
to every burning issue of the European and Russian Social-Democratic 
movement even while living in the Siberian backwoods. He followed 
with indignation the growth of opportunism in the West, and the 
opportunists' attempts to distort the revolutionary nature of Marxism. 
By their vulgar misinterpretation of Marxism, the opportunists 
depreciated the role of the Party in the working-class movement, 
extolled trade-unionism, reduced to naught the importance of political 
struggle, and also belittled the role of theory. In 1896-98 the German 
Social-Democrat Eduard Bernstein published a series of articles under 
the general title Problems oi Socialism, later (in 1899) published in 
book form under the title The Prerequisites of Socialism and the Tasks 
oi Social-Democrats, in which he frankly revised the basic tenets of 
Marxism and sought to substitute a liberal reformist doctrine for 
Marxism. Bernstein proclaimed the opportunist slogan "The movement 
is everything, the final aim is nothing", thereby advocating rejection of 
revolutionary struggle by the working class, and renunciation of the 
dictatorship of the proletariat. At that time, too, the French "socialist" 
Millerand showed by deed what revisionist and reformist deviations 
from Marxism lead to. He disgraced himself by joining the reactionary 
bourgeois government of which General Galliffet, the bloody butcher of 
the Paris Commune, was a member. Bernstein applauded Millerand's 

Bernstein's book and the statements of his fellow thinkers in the 
Press angered Lenin. He stressed that "a regular war will have to be 
w agcd" against the revisionists. It was \vith great satisfaction that he 
read Plekhanov's Essays on the History oi Materialism and his articles 
against Bernstein published in Die Neue Zeit, the journal of the German 
Social-Democrats. Lenin was strongly opposed to neo-Kantianism, which 
Was reviving the most reactionary and idealistic postulates of Kant's 
Philosophy. Under cover of pseudo-socialist phrases, the neo-Kantians 
Were fighting against Marxism, against the doctrine of the proletarian 


revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat and the victory of 
socialism. Neo-Kantian views were also upheld by the revisionist 
Bernstein, who, taking his cue from bourgeois professors, proclaimed 
"back to Kant". 

On receiving Kautsky's book against Bernstein entitled Bernstein 
and the Social-Democratic Programme. Anti-Criticism, Lenin and 
Krupskaya translated it into Russian in the course of a fortnight. The 
manuscript of this translation circulated from hand to hand. It was read 
by exiled Social-Democrats both in the Minusinsk District and else 

At the close of August 1899 Maria Ulyanova sent a copy of Bern 
stein's book to her brother in exile. Lenin started reading it the momen: 
he got it, and the next day he wrote to his mother that Krupskaya and 
he had read more than half the book "and its contents shock us more 
and more. It is incredibly lame theoretically; a repetition of other 
people's ideas. Phrases about criticism, and not even an attempt a I 
serious and independent criticism. Practically speaking, it is opportunism 
(or rather Fabianism*: the original of the bulk of Bernstein's assertions 
and ideas can be found in the Webbs' recent books), crass opportunism 
and Possibilism,** and craven opportunism at that, since Bernstein does 
not attack the programme directly. There can hardly be any doub! 
about his fiasco. We deeply resented Bernstein's assertion that many 
Russians share his views/'*** 

Lenin also sharply criticised the Russian distorters of Marxism, who, 
like Bernstein, attacked the revolutionary content of the theory of 
scientific socialism. He considered that the revolutionary Social 
Democrats must wage a relentless struggle against the revision of 
Marxism and staunchly uphold the purity of revolutionary theory. 

Lenin was concerned about a problem of paramount political 
importance at the time, namely, the path which the young Russian 
working-class movement would take. Either, inspired by socialist 
ideology, it would follow the path of bold, consistent revolutionary 
struggle against tsarism and capitalism for the dictatorship of the 
proletariat, or it would slide to the path of reformism, subservience to 
bourgeois ideology, and adaptation to tsarism and capitalism. Lenin 
concentrated all his energies on instilling a socialist consciousness into 
the working-class movement and directing its development into a 
revolutionary channel, the only one that was correct. 

* The Fabian Society, a reformist organisation founded in Britain in 188-', 
grouped mostly bourgeois intellectuals-scientists, -writers, politicians (Sydney and 
Beatrice Webb, Ramsay MacDonald, G. B. Shaw and others). Its members den i€ 
the need for the class struggle of the proletariat and for the socialist revolution, 
and maintained that the transition from capitalism to socialism could be effected 
only through petty reforms and gradual changes in the organisation of society. 

** The Possibilists constituted a petty-bourgeois, reformist trend in the French 
socialist movement. They proposed restricting the struggle of the workers to the 
"possible" (hence their name). 

*** V. t Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed„ Vol. 37, p. 209. 


Lenin detected in the earliest manifestations of Economism the Rus- 
sian Bernsteinians' desire to divert the working class to the path of 
compromise with the bourgeoisie. Only Lenin's insight could so uner- 
ringly detect the bourgeois-reformist essence of Economism at a time 
when it was just beginning to take shape. 

How profoundly right Lenin was, was proved by subsequent events 
and by the whole history of the struggle for socialism. The ideological 
enemies of Marxism and of the Russian revolutionary movement of the 
nineties sank ever deeper in the slough of opportunism and eventually 
landed in the camp of the Soviet Union's most rabid enemies. Thus, 
Kuskova, one of the leaders of the Economists, became a bitter enemy 
of the working class and the U.S.S.R., and the former "legal Marxist" 
Bulgakov became a White emigre priest in 1918. 

While in exile in Shushenskoye Lenin received from Anna Ulyanova- 
Yelizarova in St. Petersburg a copy of the Economists' "Credo", a 
document written by Kuskova. He immediately subjected this 
programme of Russian Bernsteinism to a detailed criticism. He wrote 
a sharply denunciatory article, "A Protest by Russian Social-Democrats", 
against the "Credo", and called upon the Russian Social-Democrats to 
declare war on the opportunist ideas of the Economists, who wanted 
to revise the fundamental tenets of Marxism and denied the necessity 
of founding a Marxist revolutionary proletarian party in Russia. 

Lenin organised a conference of exiled Social-Democrats in the sum- 
mer of 1899 to discuss the "Protest". It was held in the village of 
Yermakovskoye on the pretext of celebrating the birthday of the 
Lepeshinskys' daughter. Exiles gathered from all over the Minusinsk 
District: A. Vaneyev and D. Vaneyeva, M. Silvin, V. Kurnatovsky, 
P. Lepeshinsky and O. Lepeshinskaya, who lived in Yermakovskoye; 
V. Lenin, N. Krupskaya and O. Engberg, who arrived from 
Shushenskoye; V. Starkov and A. Starkova, G. Krzhizhanovsky and 
Z. Krzhizhanovskaya from Minusinsk; A. Shapovalov, N. Panin, 
F. Lengnik and Y. Baramzin from the village of Tesinskoye. 

Lenin was elected to the chair. The conference was unanimous in 
its disapproval of Economism. The seventeen exiled Social-Democrats 
discussed Lenin's "A Protest by Russian Social-Democrats" and 
unanimously adopted and signed it. After the "Protest" was discussed 
and adopted Lenin considered it a collective document and it became 
known as "A Protest by Seventeen Exiled Social-Democrats". The 
'Protest" stated that the programme of the Economists boiled down to 
the idea that the working class of Russia should confine itself to the 
economic struggle while the "liberal opposition elements" fight, with 
the "participation" of the Marxists, for "legal forms". Lenin wrote 
indignantly that "the application of such a programme would be 
tantamount to the political suicide of Russian Social-Democracy".* 

The "Protest" emphatically opposed the views of the Economists and 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 4, p. 178. 


warned all Marxists against the danger of the Russian Social-Democracy 
being diverted from the path it had already mapped out for itself, 
namely, the formation of an independent political workers' party 
inseparable from the class struggle of the proletariat and having as its 
immediate aim the winning of political liberty. 

Stating that only the theory of revolutionary Marxism could be the 
banner of the workers, the "Protest" defined the aims of the Russian 
Social-Democrats. It stressed the tremendous importance of a proletarian 
party in the struggle for the emancipation of the working people. "Only 
an independent working-class party can serve as a strong bulwark in 
the fight against the autocracy, and only in alliance with such a party, 
only by supporting it, can all the other fighters for political liberty 
play an effective part."* 

Thus Lenin gave decisive battle to the manifestations of Bernstcinisrr 
on Russian soil and dealt a blow at West European opportunism, which 
had begun to corrode the Social-Democratic parties in Germany, Fran; 
and other countries. 

The conference decided to send the "Protest" to the various colonies 
of political exiles in order to collect as many signatures to it as possible 
and then send it abroad to Plekhanov for publication. Lenin took this 
job upon himself. Shortly afterwards the colonies of exiles in 
Turukhansk and Orlov, Vyatka Gubernia (V. Vorovsky, N. Bauman ana 
others), signed the "Protest". Lenin sent it to the Emancipation of Labou 
group who had it published in Plekhanov's "Vademecum for the Editor 
ot Rabocheye Dyelo", a collection of articles against the Economists. the 
Protest" played an outstanding part in the struggle against the Econom 
ists. It contributed to the development of Marxist thinking and to the 
organisation of a revolutionary party of the working class in Russia. 

The plan for a Marxist party. The idea of creating a single Marxis 
party m Russia occupied a central place in all of Lenin's writings i 
that period. He resumed his work on a draft programme for the pari 
which he had begun in prison in St. Petersburg. His draft analysed th : 
development of capitalism in Russia and defined the principal aims 
and tasks of the class struggle of the proletariat. Lenin specified tl 
ultimate goal of the proletariat, which was to win political poM 
abolish private ownership of the means of production and establish a 
socialist society. The draft included practical demands of the Soma ■ 
Democrats: demands affecting the whole country, demands of the 
working class and those of the peasants. It laid down the principles 
ot the Russian Marxists' agrarian programme, and formulated 
immediate aim of the proletarian class struggle-the overthrow of the 
tsarist autocracy. 

^u 8 fl Le J nil ? wrote an article entitled "The Heritage We Renounce', 
which denned the attitude of the proletarian party to the revolutionary 
traditions of its country. Lenin forcefully refuted the falsehood spre id 

* V. t Lenin. Collected Works, Vol. 4, p. 181. 


by the liberal Narodmk press to the effect that the Marxists "abjure 
the 'heritage', break with the best traditions of the best section of 
Russian society, and so forth". He compared the views of the Russian 
en lighteners of the sixties, the Narodniks and the Social-Democrats and 
showed that the Marxists "are much more consistent and faithful 
guardians of the heritage than the Narodniks".* Unlike the Narodniks, 
whose ideology led naturally to historical pessimism and frustration, 
the revolutionary enlightener democrats were characterised by historical 
optimism and faith in their country's bright future. The revolutionary 
enlightener democrats were emphatically opposed to all manifestations 
of serfdom in Russian social life. They ardently believed in the country's 
progressive development and staunchly championed the interests of the 
working people. All this was fully adopted by the Russian Marxists. 

Lenin considered the Marxist party to be the legitimate heir to all 
the progressive gains and revolutionary democratic traditions of the 
peoples of Russia. But it goes without saying, Lenin pointed out, that 
the Russian Marxists did not want to guard the heritage in the way an 
archivist guards an old document. To guard the heritage did not mean 
confining oneself to the heritage received; it was necessary to go 
further, to independently determine, on the basis of Marxism, the ways 
and means for the revolutionary struggle of the working classes for 
their emancipation. 

While in exile Lenin gave much thought to the plan of founding a 
Marxist party. He expounded it in his articles "Our Programme", 
"Our Immediate Task" and "An Urgent Question" written for 
Rabochaya Gazeta. The paper was recognised by the First Congress of 
the R.S.D.L.P. as the official organ of the Party, but the police closed 
it shortly after. In 1899, an attempt was made to resume publication, 
in the autumn of 1899, Lenin accepted an offer to contribute to this 
newspaper and to be its editor. But the attempt to resume publication 
ot the paper failed and Lenin's articles remained unpublished. They first 
saw light of day in 1925. 

Exposing Bernstein and his followers who advocated the theory of 
conc Cssl on S to the proletariat's bitter enemies, to the governments " and 
parties ot the bourgeoisie, Lenin pointed out in his article "Our 
wogrammc that only the theory of Marx mapped out the right path 
hi task ot the revolutionary socialist party, namely, the organisation 
r the class struggle of the proletariat and the leadership of that struggle 

d rrA -I 16 Tl °f W K lch Was thc conquest of political power by the 
Proletariat and the building up of socialist society. 

foi,n£ m h °Z*T the °^ aniscr of a revolutionary Marxist party, in 
funding which a new path different from any other had to be followed 
Wo,-iIn S i ^"^V use a new approach to the question of the 

of S f SS Pt ll ty c Wh - C v WaS t0 bG f Party of a mw The parties 

the old type-the Socialist parties of Western Europe-had formed and 

V. r. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 2, p. 526. 


developed in the conditions of legality and parliamentary struggle. 
They were gradually losing their revolutionary character, refusing to 
train the working class for revolutionary battles to overthrow bourgeois 
rule and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. They were sliding 
to opportunism, to the path of compromise with the bourgeoisie. No 
did the type of organisation created by the Russian revolutionarv 
Narodniks of the seventies accord with Lenin's principles o£ building 
up a proletarian party. The Narodniks were isolated from the people 
They proceeded from an erroneous theory and resorted to terroristic 
conspiracies as a method of struggle. Thereby they did great harm to 
the revolutionary movement. Neither of the two types of organisation 
could serve as a model for the revolutionary working-class party thn 
was in the making in Russia. 

In his article "Our Immediate Task", Lenin wrote: 

"The history of socialism and democracy in Western Europe, th- 
history of the Russian revolutionary movement the experience of or r 
working-class movement-such is the material we must master 
elaborate a purposeful organisation and purposeful tactics for our 
Party. 'The analysis' of this material must, however, be done independ- 
ently, since there are no ready-made models to be found anywhere," 

Lenin regarded the inadequate organisation of the Russian Sock ■ 
Democratic movement as an urgent issue, a "sore point". His artic e 
"An Urgent Question" stressed the imperative need to improve 
revolutionary organisation and discipline and to perfect secrecy 
techniques. ". , .All the sound and developing sections of our society/' 
he wrote, "are in favour of democracy and socialism; but, in order o 
conduct a systematic struggle against the government, we must raise 
revolutionary organisation, discipline, and the technique of underground 
work to the highest degree of perfection."** It was indispensable o 
link together the numerous Marxist study-circles and organisations 
scattered all over the country, get rid of primitive methods and found 
a Marxist party that would be the political leader and guide of 
working class. 

But to achieve that, Lenin wrote, "we must have as our immediate 
aim the founding oi a party organ that will appear regularly and 
closely connected with all the local groups."*** 1 Without such a p v ss 
organ no broad organisation of the working-class movement would 
possible, since only a common party organ consistently applying the 
principles of political struggle and holding high the banner 
democracy could win over to its side all the militant democratic 
elements and use all the progressive forces of Russia in the struggle for 
political liberty. Lenin believed that only an all-Russian illegal political 
newspaper could, under the existing conditions, serve as an important 
means of rallying the Social-Democrats ideologically and organisa- 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 4, p. 217. 
** Ibid., p. 222. 
*** Ibid., p. 218. 


tionally. Owing to police persecution, it was impossible to publish such 
a paper in Russia, and Lenin therefore decided to have it published 

Lenin's thoughts were occupied with the problem of putting into 
effect his well-thought-out plan for creating a revolutionary proletarian 
party. "I shall never forget one of my last walks with Lenin on the 
banks of the broad Yenisei," wrote Krzhizhanovsky. "It was a frosty 
moonlit night, and the Siberian snows spread before us in an endless 
glittering waste. Lenin spoke with enthusiasm about his plans when 
he returned to Russia."* 

Lenin looked forward eagerly to the day when his term of exile 
would be over, fearing that the tsarist authorities, as often happened, 
might prolong his term. He became nervous and slept poorly. He 
longed to be doing active work. "He sat up all night, working out his 
plan in fullest detail," wrote Kmpskaya. "He discussed it with 
Krzhizhanovsky and with me, he corresponded with Martov and 
Potresov about it, and made arrangements with them for going abroad. 
He grew more and more impatient as time went on, eager to throw 
himself into the work."** 

Luckily, Lenin's apprehensions proved groundless-his term was not 
prolonged. Early in January 1900, the Police Department sent Lenin a 
notice to the effect that the Minister of the Interior had forbidden him 
to reside in the capital and university cities and large industrial centres 
after the completion of his term of exile. Lenin chose Pskov as his 
place of domicile to be nearer to St. Petersburg. 

At last came the long-awaited day. Lenin and his family left 
Shushenskoye on the morning of January 29, 1900. Friends-peasants 
and exiles-pressed round the sledge fitted out for the long journey 
Many of them had tears in their eyes. On parting, O. Engberg presented 
JN. Kmpskaya, his teacher, with a brooch he had made himself, in the 
shape of a book inscribed Karl Marx. Little Minka, the son of an exiled 
Lett and a favourite of Lenin's, bustled about among the adults. He 
was busy carrying to his home the "treasures" he had been left-books, 
colour pencils, paper, pictures. . . 

The parting with Shushenskoye was warm and moving. The peasants 
nad become truly attached to Lenin during his exile in the village. They 
saw the family off with good wishes and words of gratitude. 

Lenin and his family arrived in Minusinsk late in the evening, where 
jney spent the night, leaving again the next morning. In Minusinsk the 
uiyanovs were joined by V. Starkov and Olga Silvina. They rode 300 
versts by sledge, travelling day and night despite the severe frost. At 
Achinsk they boarded a train. 

Lenin's exile in Siberia was at an end. His life and work entered a 
aew period. 

Reminiscences of Lenin, Russ. ed., 1956, Part 1, p. 158. 

N. K. Kmpskaya, Reminiscences ol Lenin, Moscow, 1959, p. 45, 

Chapter Four 

As a trend of political thought ami as a political parly. 
Bolshevism has existed since 1903. 


Free at last, Lenin rejoiced that he could now devote himself wholly 
to his cherished aim. Only one thing shadowed the joy of complete 
freedom for revolutionary activity: the necessity of separation from his 
wife, who had still a year to spend in exile in Ufa Gubcrnia. How 
would she live this year, in what conditions? On the way back from 
Siberia Lenin stopped off in Ufa with his wife and mother-in-law and 
helped them to get settled. 

Before leaving for abroad, Lenin had much to do in Russia. Connec- 
tions with the Social-Democratic organisations in different cities had 
to be established, and their support assured; and funds had to be 
procured for the printing of the paper. With the energy and insistence 
that always characterised him, Lenin set at once to work to carry out 
the plan he had so thoroughly elaborated. 

Preparations for founding an all-Russian newspaper. On his first day 
in Ufa Lenin met with A. Tsyurupa, V. Krokhmal and A. Svidcrsky, 
Social-Democrats living in exile in that city, and acquainted them with 
his plan for setting up a revolutionary newspaper. Opening up broad 


possibilities for the activities of the Russian Marxists, this plan brought 
new inspiration to the Ufa Social-Democrats. They later declared that 
with Lenin's coming it was as though a window had been thrown open 
in a stuffy room, letting in a gust of fresh, bracing, sunlit air. 

Lenin spent only two days in Ufa. His work called him on, "It was 
a pity we had to part just when the 'real' work was starting," Krupskaya 
afterwards recalled, "but it did not even enter our heads that Vladimir 
Ilyich could remain in Ufa when he had a chance to move nearer to 
St. Petersburg/'* 

First place, as always, went not to personal desires or convenience, 
but to the revolutionary work to which Lenin and Krupskaya devoted 
their whole lives. 

Disregarding the police ban, Lenin went to Moscow to visit his 
family. He had talks there with several Moscow comrades, and also 
with a representative of the Yekaterinoslav Committee, L Lalayants, 
After a brief stay in Moscow he made a secret visit to St. Petersburg, 
where he met Vera Zasuiich, just arrived from abroad, and proposed to 
her that the Emancipation of Labour group participate in the publication 
abroad of an all-Russian Marxist newspaper, Iskra (The Spark), and of 
a theoretical and political magazine to be called Zarya (The Dawn). 

Lenin arrived in Pskov only at the end of February 1900. Secret 
police surveillance was immediately established over all his movements. 
As a means of livelihood, and to screen his revolutionary activities, 
Lenin took work to do for the gubernia statistical office. He associated 
with the local statisticians, and frequented the city library. Meetings 
with the local Social-Democrats also began,- and from Pskov, Lenin 
carried on far-reaching activities, establishing contact with Social- 
Democratic groups and individual Social-Democrats in different cities 
and arranging for their co-operation with the newspaper. He drafted 
an editorial board declaration of Iskra and Zarya on the programme 
and tasks of the newspaper and magazine, in which he emphasised 
that the time had come for the Russian Social-Democrats "to come out 
on the road of open advocacy of socialism, on the road of open political 
struggle. The establishment of an all-Russian organ of Social-Democracy 
must be the first step on this road".** 

Early in April Lenin made a trip to Riga to establish contact with 
the Lettish Social-Democrats. He was helped in this by M. Silvin, who 
was living in Riga at the time. The Lettish comrades, Silvin recalls, 
were deeply impressed by Lenin and carried away by the plan he 
presented to them. 

On his return to Pskov, Lenin took an active part in meetings of the 
local revolutionary and radical intellectuals. Some of the Social- 
Democrats, among them A. Stopani, L Radchenko and N. Lokhov, 
undertook to set up an Iskra assistance group in Pskov. 

* N. K. Krupskaya, Reminiscences of Lenin, Moscow, 1959, p. 43. 
** V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 4. p. 330. 


Lenin applied to the authorities for permission to travel abroad. 
Permission was granted, and early in May he was issued a passport; 
but at the same time the St. Petersburg secret police instructed the 
Pskov police "to intensify surveillance over Ulyanov, resident in Pskov", 

His passport received, Lenin was not at once able to make use ol 
it, for he had still a number of organisational matters to settle in Russia . 

To arrange with the St. Petersburg Social-Democrats for methods of 
communication after his departure for abroad, Lenin in May made a 
second illegal trip to St. Petersburg. This time, however, the police 
tracked him out, and he was arrested for visiting the capital without 
leave. The arrest took place in the street, and, as Lenin later recalled, 
he was "pinioned by both elbows so that he could not throw anything 
out of his pockets. And in the cab two detectives held him by both 
elbows all the way".* Thus, he was unable to destroy or get rid of his 
list of contacts abroad, written in invisible ink on a sheet of paper, 
outwardly an ordinary bill. In prison, Lenin worried constantly o\ 
that bill. Were its true nature discovered, there would be no ge : 
abroad for him, no carrying out of his plan for an all-Russian newspap. \ 
Only just free, after three years of exile; only just getting down to 
work-and, the work hardly begun, back in prison again! 

But the gendarmes noticed nothing suspicious about the bill. ALL ■ 
ten days' detention, Lenin was released for lack of evidence. A secret 
police official escorted him to Podolsk, in Moscow Gubcrnia, who e 
his mother was then living. Permission for a visit here had been 
received before his arrest. The official turned Lenin over to the police 
officer of Podolsk Uyezd. Learning that Lenin was in possession c 
passport for travel abroad, this officer arbitrarily decided to 
it. Lenin declared that he would complain to the Police Departing . 
And the threat worked (at which, later, Lenin had a hearty laugh). The 
officer got cold feet and respectfully returned the passport. 

The week Lenin spent in Podolsk was a busy time of meetings v h 
comrades. Social-Democrats from many districts came to Podolsk to 
see him, among them P. Lcpeshinsky and Sophia and Sergei Shesteri 
Lenin arranged with each of them about the details of code, and got 
their agreement to write for the newspaper and to support it. 

In June, accompanied by his mother and his elder sister, Lenin visited 
Nadezhda Krupskaya. On the way to Ufa he stopped off at Nizl 
Novgorod, where he arranged a conference of Social-Democrats to 
discuss their participation in the publication of the newspaper. From 
Nizhny Novgorod the trip continued by steamboat along the Volga. 
Kama and Belaya rivers. Lenin spent long hours on deck, in 
happiest of moods, breathing deep of the pure air that floated down 
from the woods along the river banks. 

In Ufa, where he spent over two weeks, Lenin arranged with the 
local Social-Democrats for their collaboration with the newspaper. On 

* Reminiscences ot Lenin by His Relatives, Moscow, 1956, p. 86. 


his return trip he visited Samara and enlisted the support of the Samara 
Social-Democrats for the all-Russian organ. He also went to Syzran, 
on the same errand. 

To discuss the plan for the organisation of the paper with Ivan 
Babushkin, Lenin went to Smolensk, where Babushkin was then 
staying. Later, Lenin was to note that Babushkin had fervently approved 
the idea of a political newspaper, published abroad, which would help 
to unite and consolidate the Social-Democratic Party. 

The support of the Social-Democrats secured, and a reliable base for 
the newspaper within Russia thus provided, Lenin in July 1900 left 
for abroad. 

"How the 'Spark' Was Nearly Extinguished". Lenin went to Switzer- 
land, where the members of the Emancipation of Labour group had 
settled. After a visit to P. Axelrod, in Zurich, he went on to Geneva to 
discuss the publication of newspaper and magazine with G. Plekhanov 
Plekhanov, like the other members of his group, approved the idea of 
such Marxist periodicals. But he considered himself entitled to a 
privileged position on the editorial board, and his arrogance was such 
as to exclude the possibility of normal collective work. Lenin, who 
stood always for collective effort, could not accept this stand The 
programme of the newspaper and magazine and the problems of 
publication and of joint editorial work were discussed at conferences 
held in Belrivc and Corsier (near Geneva). The disagreement with 
Plekhanov came out with particular force during the conference at 
Corsier, attended by Lenin, Plekhanov, Zasulich, Axelrod and Potresov. 
The discussion here was very heated, and relations were strained almost 
to the breaking point. 

Obviously, collective work under such conditions would be impossible, 
if l P lt n an 1 all R , ussian newspaper was in danger of collapse. Lenm 
took this very keenly to heart. "It was a real drama; the complete 
abandonment of the thing which for years we had tended like a 
tavouri e child, and with which wc had inseparably linked the whole 

?;it Ur -lu ™TT k '"* hc w , rote in a detailed rccoi-d of his meetings and 
talks with Plekhanov on the publication of Islzra which he kept for his 
wife and which he entitled, "How the Spark Was Nearly Extinguished" 
a dramatic and profoundly moving document, bearing vivid witness 
to the pam it caused Lenin that Plekhanov, whom he so sincerely 
admired and liked, should behave in this pettish, supercilious manner 
enrf.H ne 9° tlatlons w ; th th c Emancipation of Labour group finally 

coulH I 1 " ag T? Cllt T tHat Until SOme Svstem of f01 ™ al ^tionships 
wuid be worked out Lenm, Plekhanov, Zasulich, Axelrod, Martov and 

^ bC i C0 " Cdit0rS ' Plekhanov h^ing two votes. It was 
S th f Iskm J" ^ ut out in Germany, though Plekhanov and 
^eliod who wanted the newspaper to be under their direct manage- 
Randall contacts with Russia to be handled by them, had insisted 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 4, p. 341. 


on Switzerland, Lenin considered it essential that the newspaper be 
kept at a distance from the emigrant centre, and thoroughly secretiscd. 
That was of tremendous importance for security of communication with 

Agreement reached, Lenin went to Munich, where the main editorial 
work was to be centred. Here, for purposes of secrecy, he lived for 
some time without a passport, under the name of Meyer. Later, 
Bulgarian Social-Democrats supplied him with a passport made out to 
a Bulgarian named Jordanov. For secrecy, again, he carried on his 
correspondence with Russia through the Czech Social-Democrat 
F. Modracek, who lived in Prague. 

Lenin's life in Munich, at the beginning, was very unsettled. The 
room he rented was inconvenient, and meals were a problem. Morning 
and evening he would make shift with tea, which he drank from a ti 
cup. This continued until Nadczhda Krupskaya arrived, in April 1901. 
To arrange for her coming Lenin had to go to Prague, and then to 
Vienna, in search of a Russian consulate which could certify his 
signature on his application for a passport for his wife. In Prague Lenin 
had talks with Czech Social-Democrats. "I regret that I never studied 
the Czech language," he wrote to his mother. "It's interesting. Vc- 
close to the Polish. Many ancient Russian words." In Vicnna-"a hug., 
lively, beautiful city "-he visited the Museum of Fine Arts.* 

After Krupskaya's arrival Lenin's life in Munich became easier. I> 
advertisement they found a room in a worker's home. Here Krupska\ 
had the use of the kitchen, but only for the actual cooking of meal;-. 
All the preparatory work had to be done in the room in which the 
lived-and it had to be done as quietly as possible, in order not to 
disturb Lenin in his work. After a month of this they moved to a littlj 
flat in the Schwabing suburb. They bought some second hand furnish- 
ings, which they resold when leaving Munich for twelve marks (abo 
six rubles in the Russian currency of that period). 

While living in Munich Lenin and Krupskaya strictly observed the 
rules of secrecy, meeting almost no one but the members of the editor!: 
staff. Only once did Lenin break these rules. When Rosa Luxemburg 
arrived in Munich, he went to see her. 

"The spark will kindle a flame." Lenin's thoughts were concentrated 
wholly upon the newspaper. Its organisation was a very difficult matte . 
Printing premises had to be found, and Russian type-unobtainab 
through ordinary, legitimate channels-had to be procured. Clara Zetkh\ 
an outstanding leader of the German and the international workir 
class movement and one of the founders of the Communist Party £ 
Germany, was of great assistance in the organisation of the paper, 
were also the German Social-Democrat Adolf Braun (stopping oil 
Nuremburg on his way to Munich, Lenin had met Braun and arranged 
with him for organisational and technical assistance in the publicatu 1 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Rusfl. ed.. Vol. 37, pp. 247, 248. 


of Iskra), the Polish revolutionary Julian Marchlewski, who was living 
in Munich at that period, and a group of printing trades workers who 
procured the needed type. 

In October 1900 a Declaration of the Editorial Board of "Iskra", 
written by Lenin, came out in leaflet form. Noting the urgent necessity 
for building a revolutionary party that would be inseparably bound up 
with the working-class movement, the Declaration at the same time 
pointed out that this could be achieved only in resolute struggle against 
amateurishness, against ideological confusion, against every manifesta- 
tion of opportunism; that before uniting, and in order to unite, it was 
necessary first of all to draw firm and definite lines of demarcation. 
The Declaration emphasised the great role of the working class in 
Russia, and of the party of that class. Only if organised in a revolu- 
tionary party, it explained, could the proletariat carry out its immediate 
historical task-that of uniting all the democratic elements in the 
country under its banner, and overthrowing the autocracy. 

Through the latter half of November Lenin was occupied with the 
preparation and publication of the first issue of the magazine Zarya. 
In the latter half of December he went to Leipzig to complete the final 
editing of the first issue of Iskra (the first issue was printed in Leipzig, 
the following issues in Munich). This first issue, dated December 1900, 
had been made up by December 11 (24), but its printing was somewhat 
delayed, and it did not come out until January 1901. As its motto, the 
newspaper carried a line from the Decembrists' reply to Pushkin: "The 
spark will kindle a flame."* 

Both in organisational matters and in matters of ideology, it was 
Lenin who headed Iskra. He entered, literally, into every question 
concerning the content of the paper or its publication. He indicated 
topics, found contributors, edited articles, kept in touch with the paper's 
correspondents, procured funds, arranged for ways and means of having 
the paper smuggled into Russia, and saw to it that Iskra came out 
regularly. Krupskaya, acting as secretary of the editorial board, was 
of tremendous assistance to Lenin in this work. 

In 1900-03 the world was hit by economic crisis. In every issue, 
Iskra carried materials on the crisis and its grievous consequences for 
the people. Lenin had predicted as early as 1897, in the writings of his 
period of exile, that the production boom must inevitably be followed 
by crisis. Crises, he had pointed out, are a fearful chronic disease of 
every capitalist society. "Capitalist production," he now wrote in Iskra, 
'cannot develop otherwise than by leaps and bounds-two steps forward 
and one step (and sometimes two) back"**; and this will continue 
inevitably, until the working class overthrows capital and destroys 
Private property in the means of production. 

* In 1827 Pushkin sent a message in verse to the Decembrists who had been 
sentenced to penal servitude. The words, "The spark will kindle a flame", are taken 
Irom the reply to Pushkin written bv the poet Decembrist Odoyevsky 
** V, L Lenin, Collected Works, Vol 5, p. 90. 


In Russia the economic crisis led to industrial stagnation and mass 
unemployment in the cities. The situation was aggravated by famine 
in the countryside, the result of a serious crop failure. Unemployment, 
famine, and the intensifying severities of police rule fanned the flam, 
of the people's hatred for the autocracy, and aroused them to political 

Iskra came into being at a time when the revolutionary movement 
in Russia was gathering momentum, when huge demonstrations were 
taking place in the streets of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kharkov, Kiev 
and other cities of Russia, carrying the slogan, "Down with the 

Throughout the land, the breath of revolutionary storm was rising. 
This brought forward with particular force and urgency the need fc 
a party that would act as political leader of the working class, that 
would take the leadership in the approaching revolution. Iskra foui 
for the organisation of such a party; and this gained it tremende 
popularity among the workers. The building of the revolutionary 
Marxist party in Russia began in a period when capitalism had entered 
on its highest, final phase-imperialism; a period when proletarian 
revolution was becoming a matter of immediate perspective. In Russia, 
at this time, revolution was maturing-a revolution headed by thi 
working class. 

Lenin sensed clearly as none other the approach of revolution, 
the turn of the century he worked to create a proletarian party- a pa 
of a new type, one that would be capable of heading the revolutionary 
upsurge of the toiling masses; a party that would stand staunch and 
determined against any and every attempt to turn the working class 
from the revolutionary path to the path of compromise and reformism. 
Lenin worked to build a party that would be capable of leading the 
working class to the overthrow of tsarism, to the defeat of capitalism 
and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. 

In an editorial entitled, "The Urgent Tasks of Our Movement", in 
the first issue of Iskra, Lenin singled out as the cardinal task the 
creation of a strong, well-organised Marxist party, inseparably lifi 
with the working-class movement; for without such a party "th< 
working class will never be able to fulfil its great historical mission - 
to emancipate itself and the whole of the Russian people from polit* 
and economic slavery".* 

No. 4 of Iskra (May 1901) carried an editorial entitled "Where To 
Begin", in which Lenin discussed questions of the most vital importance, 
at that period, to the Social-Democratic movement in Russia: that ot 
the character and the content of political agitation, and that _ or 
organisational tasks. The article outlined a concrete plan for the building 
of a Marxist party, and discussed in every aspect the role of an aJJh 
Russian political newspaper in the accomplishment of this plan. ' A 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 4, p. 370. 


_ aper /' Lenin wrote, "is not only a collective propagandist and a 
^llective agitator, it is also a collective organiser."* This thesis became 
a°guiding principle not only for Iskra, but for all future revolutionary 
Marxist organs. 

"Where To Begin" was extensively circulated in Russia. After its 
appearance in Iskra it was republished in pamphlet form by various 
local Social-Democratic organisations. The Siberian Social-Democratic 
League reprinted it in five thousand copies. Another reprint was made 
in Rzhev. The article was widely read in Saratov, Tambov, Nizhny 
Novgorod, Ufa and other cities. It was particularly appreciated by 
working-class readers. 

"I have shown Iskra to many comrades. It's almost in shreds, yet it 
is precious," a weaver wrote in a letter to the paper. "It tells all about 
our cause, all about our Russian cause, which you can't price in kopeks 
or count in hours. When you read it, you understand why the gendarmes 
and the police are afraid of us workers and of the intellectuals whose 
lead we follow. Yes, they are truly terrifying to the tsar, and the bosses, 
and all, and not only the bosses' pockets. Of course, I am only a plain 
worker, and not much educated, but I feel very well where the truth 
lies. I know what the workers need. The working folk today can catch 
fire very easily. Underneath, everything is smouldering already. It 
needs only a spark, and the fire will break out. How true, those words, 
that the spark will kindle a flame ! . . . Every strike used to be an event. 
But now everyone can see that one strike is nothing. Now we must 
fight for freedom, we must fight for it might and main. Everyone would 
read now, old and young, but there's our trouble-we can't get the 
books. Last Sunday I got eleven friends together and read them 'Where 
To Begin', and we sat over it till nightfall. How true it all is, and how 
it gets down to everything!"** 

Babushkin wrote from Orekhovo-Zuyevo: "Iskra is eagerly read 
here, and all the copies received are in circulation. Thanks to the paper, 
we note a great rise of enthusiasm among the workers. There is 
particularly much talk of the article on the peasant question in No. 3,*** 
so that there is a demand for more copies of that issue."**** 

Lenin's Iskra was the first all-Russian illegal Marxist newspaper, a 
militant revolutionary publication that became a decisive factor in the 
creation of a Marxist party of the working class. Lenin particularly 
emphasised the importance of Iskra as the chief instrument by which 
all the Social-Democratic committees could be united both ideologically 
and organisationally, and by which the party cadres and the advanced 
Workers could be trained in the spirit of scientific socialism and of 
irreconcilable struggle against all manifestations of revisionism. 

* V. L Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 5, p. 22. 
** Iskra No. 7, August 1901. 
*** The reference is to Lenin's article, "The Workers' Party and the Peasantry" 

^ Iskra No. 9, October 1901. 


Iskra taught the advanced, class-conscious workers of Russia how to 
fight their enemies. There were articles by Lenin in almost every issue, 
over forty articles in all-classic examples of revolutionary Marxist 
journalism, dealing with all the basic problems of party building and 
of the class struggle of the proletariat, and also with important develop- 
ments in international affairs. Relentlessly, with militant party spirit, 
Lenin laid bare the reactionary policy of tsarism, attacked the bourgco' . 
liberals, exposed Zubatovism,* unmasked the Bundist** national' , 
and the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and sharply criticised the opportunism 
of the Economists. Lenin's articles gave the working class of Russia 
new faith in its own strength and in the inevitable overthrow first of 
tsarism, and then of capitalism. 

In building the party, Lenin and his comrades had to contend with 
the narrow outlook and amateurish methods of work of the local Social- 
Democratic organisations; with confusion and vacillation among 
section of the Social-Democrats; with the lordly contempt which certain 
of them displayed towards the idea of a strictly disciplined party with a 
clearly-defined organisational structure; with the opportunism of the 

Lenin founded the party of the working class in struggle agains. 
numerous foes, overcoming tremendous difficulties. The Russian 
revolutionaries had to build the party under the fire of savage persecu- 
tion. They were constantly in danger of prison, penal servitude, or exi 1 . 
Many paid with their lives for their revolutionary activities. 

"We are marching," Lenin wrote, "in a compact group along a 
precipitous and difficult path, firmly holding each other by the hand. 
We are surrounded on all sides by enemies, and we have to advanc ; 
almost constantly under their fire."*** 

The tsarist authorities made every effort to do away with Lenin. 
Colonel Zubatov. chief of the Moscow secret police, wrote in a sccruL 
letter to the head of the Police Department in December 1900 that "the : 
is nobody bigger than Ulyanov in the revolution today". He 
recommended Lenin's immediate assassination. 

It was at the end ol 1901 that Vladimir llyich began to use tk& 
pseudonym "Lenin" in some oi his writings. People often ask what lay 
behind this choice of name. Pure chance, most probably, Leir 
associates used to reply: but there was one circumstance that may 
possibly have influenced his choice. Plekhanov, with whom he worked 
on Iskra, used the pen-name "Volgin", after the great Russian ri> 
Volga; and Lenin, after his years of exile in Siberia, may have cho 

* Zubatovism, or the policy of "police socialism", applied in the period 1901- 
03 at the suggestion of Colonel of the Gendarmes S. Zubatov, chief of the Moscc.' 
secret police, consisted in the setting up of legal workers' organisations to divert 
the workers from political struggle against the autocracy. 

** The Bund, or General Jewish Workers' Union in Lithuania, Poland Btiid 
Russia, was organised in 1897. Its membership was made up chiefly of Jewish 
artisans in the Western regions of Russia. 

*** V. I. Lenin. Collected Works, Vol. 5, p. 355. 


kis own pen-name after one of the great Siberian rivers-the Lena. The 
first work to appear over this signature was the beginning of the 
article, "The Agrarian Question and the 'Critics of Marx' " (Chapters I 
to IV) in Zarya for December 1901. In this article Lenin levelled 
annihilating criticism at the German and Russian bourgeois and petty- 
bourgeois ideologists who were attempting to revise Marxism on the 
agrarian question. 

Lenin's Iskra built up a strong organisational backbone for the Party. 
In the beginning of 1901, at Lenin's initiative and under his guidance, 
Iskra assistance groups were organised in Russia, and Iskra agents set 
energetically to work- These agents distributed Iskra, which was 
delivered to them from abroad; arranged for the reprinting of Iskra 
articles at illegal printshops within Russia; sent in articles, reports and 
funds, and kept the paper informed on all developments in Party life 
and in the revolutionary movement within the country. Lenin's Iskra 
rallied and united leading cadres for the Party-professional revolu- 
tionaries, daring and devoted fighters for the cause of the working 
class. Lenin attached tremendous importance to their training and 
development, and to the part that Iskra played in this training. 
G. Krzhizhanovsky has written of Iskra, in this connection; 

"In Russia it became a banner, rallying forces which were destined 
to demonstrate on a scale unexampled in history the all-conquering 
might of Lenin's tactics, of Lenin's 'Marxism in action'."* 

Staunchly, courageously, undaunted by constant police persecution, 
by the threat of prison or exile, the Iskra agents carried on their work 
in different parts of Russia. Their ranks included such revolutionaries 
as N. Bauman, I. Dubrovinsky, R. Zemlyachka, V. Ketskhoveli, 
P. Krasikov, Z. and G. Krzhizhanovsky, L. Knipovich, F. Lcngnik, 
O. and P. Lepeshinsky, G. Okulova, I. Radchenko, M. Silvin, Y. Stasova, 
M. Ulyanova, A. Tsyurupa, Ivan Babushkin was mentioned by Lenin as 
one of the most active of the Iskra agents. 

"While Ivan Vasilyevich was at liberty/' Lenin later wrote, "Iskra 
never went short of genuine workers' correspondence. Look through the 
nrst twenty issues of Iskra, all these letters from Shuya, Ivanovo- 
Voznesensk, Orekhovo-Zuyevo and other places in Central Russia- they 
nearly all passed through the hands of Evan Vasilyevich, who made 
every effort to establish the closest contact between Iskra and the 
workers. Ivan Vasilyevich was Iskra's most assiduous correspondent 
and its ardent supporter."** 

Lenin corresponded regularly with the Iskra agents and groups in 
Russia. In accordance with the plan he had worked out, a Russian Iskra 
organisation was set up, with the Iskra agents as its core. 

Lenin guided the work of the Iskra organisation in Russia, helping 
^JQ ^ovcrc ome parochial tendencies and to further unity among the 

^* Reminiscences ot Lenin, Russ. ed., 1956, Part 1, p 159 
V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 16. p. 362. 


Party organisations on the principles of revolutionary Marxism. The 
organisation functioned up to the Second Party Congress, and played 
an important part in the preparations for the Congress and its 

Under Lenin's guidance, L. Goldman organised a secret Iskra print- 
shop in Kishinev. This shop reprinted Iskra articles, and whole tSsm 
of the paper, from matrices received from abroad. The reprinting o£ 
certain issues of Iskra was organised in Yekaterinoslav and in Baku as 
well. The underground printshop in Baku was known in cod;- 
correspondence as "Nina". 

Iskra was sent into Russia by various routes-via London, Stockholm, 
Geneva, Alexandria (Egypt), and also via Marseilles, where P. Smidovich 
settled specially for this purpose, smuggling the paper out with the 
assistance of sailors on ships bound for Batum. In 1902, the Iskra 
dispatching service in Zurich was headed by M. Lit vino v. Iskra v. 
smuggled across the border hidden in double-bottomed suitcases, in 
the bindings of books, and by various other methods. For convenience 
of transportation, it was printed on thin, but strong paper. 

Differences on the editorial board. The atmosphere on the Iskm 
editorial board was very strained. Lenin had to wage a continuous figh' 
against opportunist vacillations, and grave differences arose on many 
cardinal questions. Particularly heated was the discussion of the article 
"The Persecutors of the Zemstvo and the Hannibals of Liberalism", 
in which Lenin sharply criticised the pseudo-revolutionism of the 
Russian liberals, their policy of "grandiloquence and shameful flabbiness". 
The debate dragged on for almost six weeks, Plekhanov, Axelrod and 
Vera Zasulich took issue with the political trenchancy of Lenin's 
appraisal of the liberals,- but Lenin firmly refused to alter the gener.^ 
tone of his article, to depart from principle in his approach to the 
question. Thus once more Lenin's and Plekhanov's views on the libera 
bourgeoisie and its ideologists radically diverged. 

The differences on the editorial board came out still more sharply in 
the process of working out the Party Programme. At Lenin's proposal, 
the board had commissioned Plekhanov to draw up the first draft of 
the theoretical section of the programme, while Lenin wrote the agrarian 
section and the conclusion of the draft. In January 1902, Lenin presented 
critical remarks on Plekhanov's draft. He strongly criticised, also, the 
second draft that Plekhanov submitted. The ideas presented, Lenin 
pointed out, were formulated far too abstractly, particularly in the parts 
dealing with Russian capitalism. Further, the second draft omil 
"reference to the dictatorship of the proletariat" ; it failed to stress the 
leading role of the working class as the only truly revolutionary cla: 
it spoke, not of the class struggle of the proletariat, but of the common 
struggle of all the toiling and exploited; it did not sufficiently bring out 
the proletarian nature of the Party. Lenin wrote a draft of his own 
(what is known as the "Frey draft"). 

Krupskaya, in her reminiscences, has vividly described the 
atmosphere in which Lenin had to carry on his work on the editorial 
board, and to champion his stand. Here is her description of one of the 
meetings of the editorial board: 

"Plekhanov attacked parts of the draft programme which Lenin had 
drawn up- Vera Zasulich did not agree with Lenin on all points, but 
neither did she agree entirely with Plekhanov. Axelrod also agreed with 
Lenin on some points. The meeting was a painful one. Vera Zasulich 
wanted to argue with Plekhanov, but he looked so forbidding, staring 
at her with his arms folded on his chest, that she was thrown off her 
balance. The discussion had reached the voting stage. Before the voting 
took place, Axelrod, who agreed with Lenin on this point, said he had 
a headache and wanted to go for a walk. 

"Vladimir Ilyich was terribly upset. To work like that was impossible. 
The discussion was so unbusinesslike."* 

To draw up a single draft programme for the R.S.D.L.P, on the basis 
of the drafts submitted by Lenin and Plekhanov, the Iskra editorial 
board set up a "co-ordinating" committee. This committee presented a 
final draft, which was approved at a conference of the editorial board 
held in Zurich, in Lenin's absence, Lenin submitted remarks on the com- 
mittee's draft, and also additions to it. Materials that have now been 
made public bear witness to the tremendous amount of work Lenin 
devoted to the preparation of the programme. 

Besides such documents as Lenin's draft programme and his remarks 
on Plekhanov's first and second drafts and on the draft submitted by 
the co-ordinating committee, time has preserved materials accumulated 
in the preparation of the programme, materials reflecting the high points 
in the work of the Iskra editorial board on the draft programme of 
the R.S.D.L.P. 

The tension was such, and Lenin was compelled to battle so 
persistently in defence of Marxist principle, that he himself confessed: 

My nerves are worn thin, and I feel absolutely ill." 
Lenin attached great importance to the party's agrarian programme. 
He was the first of the Marxists to work out for the proletariat a 
scientifically grounded policy towards the peasantry in the new 
historical conditions. He had set forth the Iskra position on this question 
mi his article "The Workers' Party and the Peasantry", actually a rough 
outline for the agrarian programme of the proletarian party. And in 
rebruary and early March of 1902 he wrote the article, "The Agrarian 
™grammc of Russian Social-Democracy", in which he commented on 
the agrarian section of the draft programme of the R.S.D.L.P. In these 
articles Lenin formulated the basic demands of the Social-Democratic 
labour Party in the agrarian field, going thoroughly into the class 
content of each demand and its fitness in the current historical period. 

s the central point of the agrarian programme, he pointed to the 

* N. K. Krupskaya, Reminiscences of Lcnhi, Moscow, 1959, p. 67. 


demand for the return of the cut-off lands,* "When the revolutionary 
moment comes", however, he pointed out, this demand should be 
replaced by the demand for nationalisation of the land. 

"Our principal immediate aim," he wrote, "is to clear the way for 
the free development of the class struggle in the countryside, the class 
struggle of the proletariat, which is directed towards attainment of the 
ultimate aim of the international Social-Democratic movement, the 
conquest of political power by the proletariat, and the laying of the 
foundations of a socialist society."** 

When Lenin's article "The Agrarian Programme of Russian Social- 
Democracy" came up for discussion, debate once more flared up on the 
Iskta editorial board. Plekhanov, and with him some of the othe- 
members of the board, objected to basic propositions set forth in the 
article, and demanded that its attacks on the enemies of Marxism be 
toned down. After protracted argument the editorial board deleted all 
passages dealing with nationalisation of the land. 

Repeated discussion finally brought the draft programme of the 
R.S.D.L.P. to completion, and it was published in Islzva No. 21, Juno 
1902. Thanks to Lenin's determined stand the draft included a clcar-ci; 
statement of the leading role of the working class in the revolutio 
and also that cardinal point-the dictatorship of the proletariat. In these 
points, above all others, lay the fundamental difference between th 
consistently revolutionary programme of the working-class party in 
Russia and the programmes of the parties of the Second International. 
This Programme remained in force until the Party's Eighth Congress. 

"What Is To Be Done?" Of the most outstanding importance in the 
process of founding of the Communist Party was Lenin's book, What Is 
To Be Done? Burning Questions of Our Movement. Lenin began work 
on this book in May 1901. His manner of work has been vividly 
described by his wife. "When writing," we read in her reminiscences, 
"he would usually pace swiftly up and down the room, whispering what 
he was going to write."*** The book was completed in February 1902, 
and published in March, in Stuttgart. 

In What Is To Be Done?, as Lenin wrote in his preface, he made "an 
attempt... in the simplest possible style, illustrated by numerous and 
concrete examples, systematically to 'clariiy all our basic points of 
difference with all the Economists".**** 

In this work Lenin presented a thorough analysis of the state of 
international Social-Democracy, demonstrating that two trends h : 
formed within it, and that an irreconcilable struggle was going on 
between them. One of these trends, consistently revolutionary, upheld 
the ideas of Marxism; the other-the "new", opportunist, trend-distorted 

* The cut off lands were strips of land which the landowners had cut off for 
themselves from the peasant allotments when serfdom was abolished. 
*** V " L Len5n ' Collected Works, Vol. 6, p. 148. 

*** N - K> Kr "pskaya, Reminiscences oi Lenin, Moscow, 1959, p, 63. 
V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 5, p. 350. 


the fundamental principles of Marxist theory. The true essence of the 
"new" trend, which proclaimed its "critical" attitude towards what it 
called "outdated, dogmatic" Marxism, but in reality came out against 
the revolutionary content of the Marxist doctrine, fully revealed itself 
in Bernstein's opportunist, revisionist views, Bernsteinism vulgarised 
Marxism and corrupted the political consciousness of the working class 
by its preaching of the theory of the toning down of social contradic- 
tions, by its denial of the idea of social revolution and the dictatorship 
of the proletariat, by its confining of the working-class movement and 
the class struggle to narrow trade-unionism and bourgeois-liberal 
reformism. Demagogically demanding "freedom of criticism", the 
adherents of Bernsteinism in reality advocated freedom to introduce 
bourgeois ideas into the working-class movement, freedom to transform 
Social-Democracy from a revolutionary party into a reformist party. 
"He who docs not deliberately close his eyes," Lenin wrote, "cannot 
fail to see that the new 'critical' trend in socialism is nothing more nor 
less than a new variety of opportunism."* 

Thus, in the first years of the twentieth century, Lenin exposed the 
opportunist trend in Social-Democracy and the harm it brought the 
international working-class movement. In this lay one of his great 
services to the movement. 

Disclosing the international nature of opportunism, Lenin showed 
that, while assuming different forms in different countries, in its content 
opportunism remained everywhere the same. In France it found expres- 
sion in Millerandism; in England, in trade-unionism,- in Germany, in 
Bernsteinism; in Russian Social-Democracy, in Economism. Under cover 
of the false slogan of "freedom of criticism", the Economists, like the 
Bernsteinists, were ideologically corrupting Social-Democracy. They 
minimised the importance of revolutionary theory, of the Programme 
and tactics of the party; sought to convert the working-class movement 
into a passive appendage of bourgeois liberalism; denied the leading 
role of the party in the working-class movement. 

On all these fundamental issues Lenin gave determined battle to the 
Economists, and at the same time to international opportunism. 

In What Is To Be Done?, further, Lenin dealt thoroughly with the 
cardinal ideological and organisational problems with which Russian 
social-Democracy was concerned at that period of its activities. He laid 
bare the ideological sources of opportunism, demonstrated the vast 
importance of revolutionary theory and socialist consciousness, showed 
tne role of the party as a revolutionising and guiding force in the 
working-class movement, and substantiated the basic * Marxist thesis 
!r at the proletarian party is called upon to unite the working-class 
movement with socialism. 

Lenin showed that behind the Economists' fine talk of "freedom of 
miasm" lay utter disregard for theory, lack of principle. "The role 

* V. I. Lenin. Collected Works, Vol. 5, p. 354. 


oi vanguard fighter," he declared emphatically, "can he fulfilled only 
by a party that is guided by the most advanced theory"* In confirmation 
of this thought he cited Engcls, who recognised three forms of the gre.i 
struggle of Social-Dcmocracy-political, economic and theoretical. 

An important point at issue between the revolutionary Social - 
Democrats and the Economists was the question of the relation between 
spontaneity and socialist consciousness in the working-class movement. 
The proper solution of this question was of tremendous importance, 
and Lenin went into it very thoroughly. 

The Economists were worshippers of spontaneity in the working-clas- 
movement, and belittled the role of socialist consciousness. They tried 
even to lay down a theoretical basis for their worship of spontaneity, 
declaring that socialist ideology arose spontaneously, that its element 
gradually accumulated within the working-class movement in the course 
of its spontaneous development. Actually, however-as Lenin showed- 
socialist ideology does not arise in the working-class movement 
spontaneously. It is introduced into the working-class movement by the 
revolutionary Marxist party. 

In bourgeois society, torn by class antagonism, Lenin explained 
there can be no such thing as non-class or above-class ideology- The 
only alternatives arc, bourgeois ideology or socialist ideology. There is 
no middle course. The working class gravitates towards socialism. This 
gravitation is a natural outcome of its position in society, of the vei 
conditions of its life. By its entire environment, it is best prepared for 
acceptance of the socialist ideology. "The working class/' Lenin wrote, 
"spontaneously gravitates towards socialism. This is perfectly true in 
the sense that socialist theory reveals the causes of the misery of th 
working class more profoundly and more correctly than any othi 
theory, and for that reason the workers are able to assimilate it 
easily."** The bourgeoisie, however, as the ruling class, having at its 
disposal a vast apparatus for the spiritual enslavement of the masses, 
strives by all the means in its power to spread its own ideology and 
implant it among the proletariat. Therefore "all worship of the 
spontaneity of the working-class movement, all belittling of the role of 
'the conscious element', of the role of Social-Democracy, means, quit 
independently of whether he who belittles that role desires it or not, a 
strengthening of the influence oi bourgeois ideology upon the 
workers" *** To protect the working class from the influence of bourgcv ; 
ideas and to implant socialist ideas in its consciousness, a determined 
struggle must be waged against bourgeois ideology. 

As a result of their worship of spontaneity, the Economists belittled 
not only revolutionary theory, but also the political tasks of the party 
and of the working class. They confined the tasks of the working-c 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 5, p. 370. 
** Ibid., p. 386. 
*** Ibid., pp. 382-83. 


movement to a purely trade union, economic struggle against the 
employers and the government, for better conditions of labour within 
the framework of bourgeois society. Such reformist policy, Lenin 
demonstrated, would lead to the preservation of capitalist wage slavery 
for long years to come. Going no further than the struggle of the 
workers of a given trade for better terms in the sale of their labour 
power, it was essentially not a revolutionary, but a purely trade 
union policy. The Social-Democratic activities of the proletarian 
party, in contrast, were directed not only towards winning better 
terms in the sale of labour power, but towards the destruction of the 
social system which compelled the poor to sell their labour power to 
the rich. 

Hence Lenin concluded that the Social-Democrats must set actively 
about the political education of the working class, must "utilise the 
sparks of political consciousness which the economic struggle generates 
among the workers, for the purpose of raising the workers to the level 
of Social-Democratic political consciousness".* It was not enough to 
propagandise the idea of hostility of the working class towards the 
autocracy, the idea that the interests of the workers were opposed to 
the interests of the employers. It was necessary to expose all and every 
kind of autocratic and police oppression, as manifested in the most 
diverse fields of life and activities-professional, civic, personal, family, 
religious, scientific, etc. 

"The Social-Democrat's ideal," Lenin wrote, "should not be the trade 
union secretary, but the tribune of the people, who is able to react to 
every manifestation of tyranny and oppression, no matter where it 
appears, no matter what stratum or class of the people it affects; who 
is able to generalise all these manifestations and produce a single 
picture of police violence and capitalist exploitation; who is able to 
take advantage of every event, however small, in order to set forth 
betore all his socialist convictions and his democratic demands, in order 
to clarify for all and everyone the world-historic significance of the 
struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat."** 

A considerable part of What Is To Be Done? was devoted to 
organisational questions, on which, too, Lenin gave battle to the 
Economists. Restricting the concept of the political tasks of the 
proletariat, the Economists belittled the leading role of the party in the 
working-class movement, depreciated its organisational tasks. They 
justified the amateurish methods, petty practicality, and lack of unity 
°f the local organisations. Lenin once more comprehensively substan- 
tiated the necessity for building up a centralised, united organisation of 
fevolutionaries. To achieve that, he pointed out, it was necessary that 
every attempt to depreciate the political tasks and restrict the scope of 
organisational work be denounced by the mass of the party's practical 

* V. I, Lenin, Collected Works. Vol. 5, p. 416. 

* Ibid., p. 423, 


workers. "Our task is not to champion the degrading of the revolutionary 
to the level of an amateur," he wrote, "but to raise the amateurs to the 
level of revolutionaries."* 

Exposing the Economists' opportunism in question of organisation. 
Lenin elaborated a plan for the organisational structure oi the Party. 
According to this plan, the Party was to consist of two sections: a 
narrow circle of leading functionaries, in the main professional revolu- 
tionaries, and a broad network of local Party organisations, which would 
have the sympathy and support of the toiling masses. 

Developing further the ideas of Marx and Engels on the proletarian 
party, Lenin in What Is To Be Done? laid the ideological foundation 
for a party of a new type. These ideas were eagerly accepted by the 
Social-Democratic organisations in Russia. 

The St. Petersburg R.S.D.L.P. committee, in its declaration cr 
"adherence to Iskra's theory, tactics and ideas of organisation", state; ■ 
"The Committee has reached the conviction that, as it is put by 
author of What Is To Be Done?, it is time we finished with the period 
of amateurish methods, the period of disunity, of organisational chaos, 
of dissent on the programme."** 

The Moscow R.S.D.L.P. Committee wrote to Iskra expressing its 
gratitude to Lenin for What Is To Be Done?; the Tula Commit- 
wrote of the effectiveness of Lenin's book, noting that it had ma 
"the real position and aims of Iskra clear to the Committee and to the 
most advanced of the workers"; the Siberian League wrote: "Lenin's 
book What Is To Be Done? strongly impresses active Social-Democrats, 
and completes the victory of Iskra's views on questions of organisation 
and of tactics." 

Lenin was particularly interested in the workers' reaction to his bo . 
To L Radchenko, in St. Petersburg, he wrote in July 1902: 

"Derived the greatest pleasure from your report of a talk with 
workers. It is extremely rarely that we receive such letters, which are 
truly tremendously heartening. Tell this to your workers without fail, 
and hand on to them our request that they write to us themselves, not 
only for publication, but simply with the purpose of interchange 
of ideas, so that we do not lose contact and mutual understanding. I 
personally am particularly interested in knowing what the workers 
think about What Is To Be Done?, for as yet I have received no opinions 
from workers."*** 

This book greatly helped to rally the Social-Democratic commit S 
in Russia around Iskra, and played a signal role in the preparations 
for the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. 

"Iskra" organisations in Russia, Lenin's activities abroad had as their 
aim the solution of the problems of Party work in Russia, the dcvelop- 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 5, p. 467. 

* Iskra No. 26, October 15, 1902. 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. e&. Vol. 36, p. 86. 


flient of the working-class and peasant movement. Lenin maintained 
close contact with the Party organisations in Russia, The letters that 
have come down to us reveal his thorough, detailed knowledge of the 
practical activities of the St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, Odessa and 
other local committees. The instructions and advice he sent them helped 
to correct mistakes and shortcomings in their work. In September 1902, 
in reply to a letter received from a St. Petersburg Social-Democrat, 
Lenin wrote his "A Letter to a Comrade on Our Organisational Tasks", 
in which he explained in detail the Iskra principles on building a party 
of a new type-the principles which he had already set forth in the 
article Where To Begin and the book What Is To Be Done? The "Letter 
to a Comrade" played an important part in the fight the revolutionary 
Marxists had to wage against the primitive methods of work fostered 
by the Economists, to establish the Iskra organisational principles, Lenin 
attached particular importance to the bigger factories, where large 
numbers of workers were concentrated. Emphasising the significance 
of factory organisations as the basic unit of the Social-Democratic 
movement, he wrote: "Every factory must be our fortress." Hecto- 
graph cd copies of the "Letter", passed from hand to hand, were widely 
circulated not only in St. Petersburg, but in Moscow, Riga, Rostov-on- 
Don, Nakhichevan, Nikolayev, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk and other cities. 
In January 1904, the "Letter" was published by the Central Committee 
of the R.S.D.L.P. in Russia in pamphlet form, with a foreword and 
afterword written by Lenin. 

Meetings with worker Iskra agents from Russia were very joyful 
occasions for Lenin. Coming to him for advice, the agents would receive 
exhaustive replies to all their urgent problems, and a clear explanation 
of their immediate tasks. Their talks with Lenin, Iskra agents declared, 
were to them a true Marxist political schooling. 

Lenin's intensive, tireless activities towards the building of the Party 
bore their fruit. Lenin's Iskra was a centre uniting the Party's forces, 
training the Social-Democratic organisations and consolidating them 
into a militant, centralised, all-Russian proletarian party with a Marxist 
programme, revolutionary tactics, a single will and iron discipline. The 
Iskra organisations headed the struggle of the working class against 
the autocracy. Under Iskra's influence, the revolutionary movement 
became more and more a mass movement, as witness the wave of 
strikes and demonstrations that swept city after city. "The finest elements 
in the class-conscious proletariat," Lenin was later to write, with pride, 
of this period, "sided with Iskra."* 

London, Paris, Geneva. In the spring of 1902 police persecution 
weed Iskra to shift its publication to London. On March 30 (April 12), 
J902, Lenin and Krupskaya left Munich for England. On their way 
they stopped off at Cologne, then at Liege, and for a short time at 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21. p. 332. 


In London, the British Social-Democrats helped to organise the 
printing of Iskva, hospitably offering it the facilities of their own print- 
shop. Lenin later recalled that Harry Quelch, editor of the progressive 
Justice, "had to 'squeeze up'. A corner was boarded off at the printing 
works by a thin partition to serve him as editorial room. This corn: 
contained a very small writing-table, a bookshelf above it, and a chair. 
When the present writer visited Quelch in this 'editorial office' the 
was no room for another chair "* 

In London Lenin and Krupskaya took the name of Richtcr. They lived 
at first in furnished rooms, but later rented two rooms in a little house 
not far from the British Museum. Mornings, Lenin would work in 
Museum library, where Karl Marx had worked before him; afternoons, 
he would write at home. In his free time he studied London life. lis 
crying contrasts of wealth and poverty made him say, through clenched 
teeth, "Two separate nations!" He made an attentive study, too, of fehe 
British working-class movement, frequently visiting working-c: 
districts and attending workers' meetings. 

While in London Lenin determined to improve his knowledge of 
English. Through an advertisement he found people who agreed to give 
him and Krupskaya English lessons in return for lessons in Russia n. 

At the end of June 1902 Lenin went to France to meet his mother 
and elder sister and to take a brief rest away from the strained 
atmosphere of the editorial office. These weeks spent with his mother, 
in the little town of Loguivie on the north coast of France, brought him 
great pleasure. He wanted fervently to have her always with him; but 
she stayed invariably with whichever of her children needed her most 
at the given moment. And her help was very often needed, for back 
in Russia now one, now another of the family-and sometimes two or 
three at once-was either in prison or in exile. 

At this period, both in his articles for the press and in his speeches, 
Lenin devoted much attention to propaganda of the Marxist agrarian 
programme and to criticism of the programme and tactics of the ge 
bourgeois party of the Socialist-Revolutionaries, who propagated 
reactionary views of the liberal Narodniks. While declaring themselves 
socialists, the Socialist-Revolutionaries, as Lenin showed, degraded 
"their so-called socialism to the level of the most banal petty-bourgeois 
reformism",** and by their agrarian programme misled the peasants. 

Exposing the harm the Socialist-Revolutionaries brought to the 
Russian revolutionary movement, Lenin read a paper against them at 
a meeting of Russian political emigrants in Paris. Later, in the autumn 
of 1902, he read similar papers in a number of Swiss towns (Lausanne, 
Geneva, Berne, Zurich), and also in London and Liege. 

In February 1903, at the Russian Higher School of Social Scicuc; 1 
Paris, Lenin delivered a series of lectures on "Marxist Views on the 

* V. I. Lenin. Collected Works, Vol. 19, p. 371. 
■* Ibid., Vol. 6, p. 174. 


Agrarian Question in Europe and in Russia". This school was a lcaallv 
functioning institution which had been set up for Russian students 
resident abroad. Its administrators were openly hostile to the revolu- 
tionary Marxists taking the side of the Narodniks and the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries. But such was Lenin's reputation as a theoretician in 
the field of the agrarian question that under pressure from a group of 
Social-Democratic students of the school, who acted in concert with the 
Pans Iskra group, the faculty council resolved to invite "the well- 

Development ol Capitahsin in Russia and Economic Studies", to deliver 
a course of lectures on the agrarian question. What, then were the 
professors amazement and dismay when they discovered that Ilyin was 
Lenm The scnool authorities attempted to call off the lectures bu to 
no avail. The students responded to Lenin's lectures with stormy 

eT^for them. ^ * had been a 

On his return to London, Lenin on March 18 addressed a huae 
Z^fl ™ e r ng m Whi c tccha P d ™ a* occasion of the annitersa?y 
1™ T ™, M°T, Un i' Se 7I al Com ™ards were present, and one of 
them, Louise Michel, also addressed the meeting. 

In March 1903 Lenin wrote the pamphlet To the Rural Poor An 
Expiation for the Peasants of What the SocM-Democla^sWan ' The 

Sfstur^^ h3d be T S « ed t0 b -V the peasam 

fn ZZ* f 1902. Lcnm wrote this pamphlet with great care trvinq 

MaS ideas on h. H^ T^' " to the peasants the 

fl^ f i f i Class stru Sgle m the countryside, to use real 

ESS ■sss-s- 1 

cKS wvt-sivsa a? sua 

Addressing himself to the rural poor, Lenin wrote- "We wmt 

1 Y/J: Lcnin ' Collected Works, Vol 6, p. 366 
imti., p. 413. 


Again and again, Lenin stressed the necessity of consolidating the 
alliance of the workers and peasants, and pointed out the tremendous 
role of the rural poor in this alliance. 

The pamphlet came out in Geneva in May 1903, with an appendix 
containing the text of the draft programme of the R.S.D.L.P. and an 
introduction to it written by Lenin. Smuggled into Russia, the pamphk 
was widely circulated there. It was studied in underground Social- 
Democratic and workers' circles, and found its way to the countryside, 
to the army, to the navy. By December 1905, according to incomplete- 
data now available, the pamphlet had been received in 75 towns and 
villages. It was reprinted abroad in 1904, in 10,000 copies, and was 
repeatedly reprinted in Russia. In 1905, a legal edition appeared in 
Russia. Lenin was later told by a worker who came from a poor peasant 
family that the pamphlet To the Rural Poor had made him a Bolshcvi 

In the spring of 1903, at the insistence of the Emancipation of Labour 
group, the printing of Iskva was shifted to Geneva. Early in May Lenin 
and Krupskaya left London for Switzerland. 

Until the autumn of 1904 Lenin and his family lived in a little house 
which they rented in the working-class settlement of Secheron, in the 
suburbs of Geneva. The house consisted of a roomy, stone-floored kitch 
and, on the upper floor, reached by a wooden staircase, three roonj , 
each furnished with a desk, a simple iron bed, spread with a steamer 
rug, several chairs, and crude bookshelves. In the kitchen, much of the 
furniture consisted of boxes that had held books or dishes. Occupying 
the whole of the ground floor, this kitchen served also as dining-room 
and drawing-room. Here Lenin often sat talking with his comrades, 
who liked to visit this hospitable and friendly home. Iskra agent 
T. Zelikson-Bobrovskaya, recalling a visit to Lenin, noted his simplicity, 
cordiality, modesty and buoyancy. Of his appearance, she wrote, 
"Vladimir Ilyich wore a dark-blue Russian blouse, which gave his 
stocky figure a truly Russian look/'* 

Lenin was solicitous for the welfare of every comrade, and particu- 
larly of new arrivals, many of whom escaped from prison or from place 
of exile, reached Geneva without any means, lacking, often, even decent 
clothing and footwear. He knew no rest until such comrades had be 
provided with lodging, food, clothing and all else that was need l, 
Lenin was a responsive and attentive comrade, a cordial and charm I 
companion. His tremendous tact, his constant readiness to re- 
assistance to all who needed it, made him a lodcstone to human hea • 

Lenin's energy was inexhaustible. He was fond of a good joke, ' 
of a song, of music, of popular festivities. A tireless worker, he nonet 
less found time for pleasant relaxation among his friends. Not infre- 
quently, he and Nadezhda Krupskaya, with other comrades, would 
bicycle out into the countryside- Of a Sunday, at times, with Nade 
Krupskaya and her mother, he would undertake an all-day excursion. 

* Reminiscences of Lenin, Russ. ed.. 1956, Part 1, p. 240. 



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First page of ZsAra No. 1, December 1900 

Hto AwiaTb? 

HaGojitBiuie Bonpocbi Hamero RBnmemn 

. . . .napitSHMt <5opt<5a npHJiaerb napTta 
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kt, MapKcy orb 24 i»aa 1852 P.J. 

U;tna 1 py6. 

Preis 2 Mark = 2.50 Francs. 

Verlag von J. H. W. Dietz Nachf. (G. m. b. H.> 


Cover of the first edition of Lenin's book What Is To Be Done? 

Of one such holiday he wrote; "We had a splendid day. Got drunk as 
children, all of us, on the fresh air, and afterwards I was tired as if 
X'd been out hunting in Siberia. Altogether, we're not bad excursionists. 
Of all the local comrades, we are the only ones who explore all the 
city's environs. We search out all sorts of 'rustic' paths. We know the 
near environs thoroughly, and have it in mind to venture further out. 
I have been well of late, working regularly and not bothered by the 

Of an evening, now and again, Lenin's comrades would gather at his 
home. They would sing togcther-thc Internationale, the Marseillaise, 
Whirlwinds of Danger, Victim of Dire Bondage, the Song of the Volga 
Boatmen, Sacred Baikal, the Cliff, and other songs; and Lenin would 
join in the singing, forgetful of all else. 

In conversation with his friends Lenin spoke with lively interest of 
literature, and in particular of such favourite writers as Chernyshevsky, 
Saltykov-Shchedrin, Nekrasov. His knowledge in this field was broad 
and varied. He could recite many of Nckrasov's poems by heart, con- 
veying to his listeners not only the poet's ideas, but the true beauty oi 
his verse. He had an excellent knowledge of Pushkin, Lcrmontov, Tolstoi. 

Living abroad, Lenin sorely missed his homeland. This feeling is 
often to be sensed in his letters to his mother. In Munich, on a wet 
evening, his thoughts turned to winter as it is in Russia-real winter, 
with its crisp sleigh-roads and its keen, frosty air. From London, he 
wrote: "If we could spend the summer on the Volga!" In the mountains 
of Switzerland, sun, snow and toboggans reminded him of "a fine 
winter day in Russia". He often spoke of Russia's open spaces, of his 
native Volga region, of the rugged beauty of Siberia. A newspaper item 
on the production of Chekhov's Three Sisters at the Art Theatre aroused 
his lively interest, and, in writing to his people, he asked about their 
impressions of the play. "The acting at the low-priced Art Theatre is 
superb," he wrote. "I still recall with pleasure my visit there last year."** 
In another letter he wrote that he would like to see Gorky's Lower 
Depths at the Art Theatre. Again, he wrote to his mother of the pleas- 
ure it had given him to hear Chaikovsky's Symphonie Pathetique at a 
concert that he had attended. Always, wherever he might be, Lenin 
remembered Russia. 

At the Second Congress of the R.S.DX.P. Three years gained Ishra 
tremendous influence among the R.S.D.L.P. committees in Russia. 
Economism was routed ideologically. The period of confusion and 
vacillation approached its end. The victory of Lenin's plan had laid the 
foundation for a united, militant proletarian party, which was to become 
a model for the international revolutionary working-class movement. 

Having united the Party organisations in Russia around Iskra, Lenin 
Proposed the calling of the Party's Second Congress and launched a far- 

* V. L Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. 37. p. 2S0. 
** Ibid., p. 245. 

reaching preparatory campaign. Both the preparations for the Congress 
and the Congress itself, he realised, would be attended by sharp ideologi- 
cal struggle; and he pointed out repeatedly to the Russian Marxists 
the importance of the coming Congress and the vital necessity that it 
adopt the Iskra programme and organisational principles. He made 
thorough preparations, further, to combat Iskra's opponents and all 
opportunist elements, 

On August 15, 1902, in London, Lenin conferred with representatives 
from the St. Petersburg Committee of the R.S.D.L.P., the Russian Ish 
organisation, and the Northern League of the R.S.D.L.P. This conference 
set up an Iskrist nucleus for the Organising Committee (O.C.) that 
was to convene the Second Party Congress. In November, at Lenin 
proposal, a conference of representatives of Social-Democratic commit 
tees held in Pskov set up the actual Organising Committee, made up in 
its overwhelming majority of Iskra supporters. 

Under Lenin's leadership, the Organising Committee set about exten- 
sive preparations for the Congress. Lenin worked out a draft agenda 
and rules of procedure for the Congress; drew up a draft of the Parly 
Rules, which he presented to the members of the Iskra editorial board 
and to delegates arriving in Geneva before the date set for the opening 
of the Congress; and attended meetings of these delegates, in order to 
work out a common stand. He drew up the plan for the leport to the 
Congress on the activities of the Iskra organisation, and drafted resolu- 
tions on the following questions: on demonstrations; on the status of 
the Bund in the R.S.D.L.P.; on the attitude to be taken towards the 
student youth; on Party literature; on the economic struggle; on May 
Day; on the international congress; on terrorism; on propaganda; on 
the distribution of forces. Shortly before the Congress Lenin wrote an 
article entitled, "Reply to Criticism of Our Draft Programme", expl 
ing the agrarian section of the Party Programme. This article 1 
published in the pamphlet. On X's Agrarian Programme. N. Lew- 
Reply to Criticism oi Our Draft Programme, which was distributed to 
the Congress delegates in lieu of a report on the agrarian question. 

Altogether, the main burden of the preparatory work for the Congress 
was carried by Lenin and by the Iskra editorial board which he had 
brought into being. 

The Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. opened on July 17 (30), 
sat until August 10 (23), 1903. It was with the most eager impatience 
that Lenin had awaited this Congress, of which he had so ardently 
dreamed, and which he saw as an event of historic significance. The 
Congress began its deliberations in Brussels, but after some days pe 
secution by the Belgian police compelled a shift to London. In Brussels, 
for purposes of secrecy, the Congress sittings were held on the premises 
of a flour warehouse. The big warehouse window was curtained with 
red. Mounting to the makeshift platform, Plekhanov, with deep emotion, 
delivered his opening address. Elation filled all hearts in this historic 


Whereas at the First Congress there had been only nine delegates, 
at the Second there were forty-three delegates with fifty-one votes, and 
fourteen with consultative votes. The delegates represented twenty-six 
party organisations. The Congress agenda included twenty items, the 
most important of these being: the Party Programme; the organisation 
of the Party (adoption of the Party Rules); and election of the Central 
Committee and of the editorial board of the Central Organ. 

To direct the work of the Congress, a bureau (presidium) was elected, 
with Plekhanov as chairman and Lenin and P. Krasikov as vice-chairmen. 
Lenin was elected, also, to the credentials committee and to the 
committees on the Party Programme and the Party Rules, From the 
opening of the Congress and to its conclusion, he kept a detailed record 
of its proceedings. 

It was a hard-fought struggle that Lenin and his adherents, the firm 
Iskrists, had to wage at the Congress against the Economists, the 
Bundists, the Centrists and the unstable or "mild" Iskrists, who 
supported Martov. 

Lenin, and with him the firm Iskrists, fought at the Congress for the 
ideological and organisational principles advocated by lskra f for a 
solid and militant party, closely bound up with the mass working-class 
movemcnt-a party of a new type, differing fundamentally from the 
reformist parties of the Second International. Lenin and the Iskrists 
sought to found a party that would be the vanguard, class-conscious, 
organised detachment of the working class, armed with revolutionary 
theory, with a knowledge of the laws of development of society and of 
the class struggle, with the experience gained in the revolutionary 
movement. At the Congress, Lenin and Plekhanov drew closer together. 
Plekhanov supported Lenin, though not without vacillation. He came 
out against the Economists, as he had before the Congress, and firmly 
supported the propositions Lenin had advanced in the book What Is 
To Be Done? In a speech directed against the Economist Akimov, 
Plekhanov declared, "He [Akimov-£ci] is determined to divorce me 
from Lenin. But ... I refuse to divorce Lenin, and hope that he, too, 
has no intention of divorcing me."* 

The discussion and adoption of the Party Programme aroused sharp 
struggle at the Congress. The opportunists attacked the basic principles 
of the Marxist programme. In particular, the Bundist Lieber and the 
Economists Akimov and Martynov opposed the inclusion in the Pro- 
gramme of the clause on the dictatorship of the proletariat. The firm 
Iskrists, headed by Lenin, battled for a revolutionary programme, for 
the clauses on the dictatorship of the proletariat, the alliance of the 
forking class and the peasantry, the right of nations to self-determina- 
tlo n, and proletarian internationalism. Lenin's uncompromising struggle 
ended in victory. The Congress adopted the Iskra programme. For the 

I * Minutes oi the Second Congress oi the R.S.D.L.P.. Russ. cd., Moscow, 1959, 



first time in the history of the international working-class movement 
since the death of Marx and Engels, a revolutionary programme had 
been adopted, a programme in which, at Lenin's insistence, the struggle 
for the dictatorship o£ the proletariat was set down as the fundamental 
task of the party of the working class. 

Reporting to the Congress on the Party Rules, Lenin visualised the 
Party as a militant organisation and its members as devoted fighter, 
ready equally for humdrum daily work or for battle with arms in hand. 
Every member of the Party, Lenin felt, must answer for the Party as , 
whole; and the Party as a whole for its every member. The draft Rules 
aroused heated debate, particularly in connection with their first clause, 
which defined Party membership. Essentially, it was a question • 
what sort of organisation the Party was to be: opportunist or militant; 
amorphous and liberal, or consistently proletarian. 

The first clause of the Rules as Lenin formulated it defined a Party 
member as one who accepted the Party Programme and who supportcJ 
the Party both financially and by personal participation in one of its 
organisations. This formulation was designed to hinder admittance 
the Party for unstable and non-proletarian elements and thus to help 
make the Party a strong, well-organised and disciplined body. 

Arguing for his formulation of the first clause of the rules, Lenin 
said: "It would be better if ten who do work should not call themselw 
Party members (real workers don't hunt after titles !) than that one who 
only talks should have the right and opportunity to be a Party member.'" 
Again, "It is our task," he pointed out, "to safeguard the firmness, 
consistency and purity of our Party. We must strive to raise the calling 
and importance of a Party member higher, higher and still higher."** 

Lenin strove for a party that would be capable of leading the working 
class to the establishment of dictatorship of the proletariat; and the 
formulation of the first clause of the Rules was inseparably bound up 
with this aim. 

Lenin's principle of Party membership was opposed by Martov, and 
with him by all the opportunist and vacillating elements among the 
delegates. As formulated by Martov, the first clause of the Rules did 
not require for Party membership that a person belong to one of 
Party's organisations. It demanded only that he afford the Party 
regular personal assistance under the guidance of one of the Party 
organisations. With membership so defined, the Party would become 
an amorphous body, open to opportunist elements. Such a party could 
not lead the workers to victory, to the seizure of power. Martov' s fai" 
mulation minimised the significance of Party membership; its tendency 
would be to create not a revolutionary, but a reformist party. 

Martov's formulation of the first clause, and the speeches of his 
adherents, reflected their views on the main Programme question-that 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 6, p. 503. 
** Ibid., p. 504. 


f dictatorship of the proletariat. To them, the victory of dictatorship 
of the proletariat was a matter of the distant future. Like the Western 
opportunists, they considered that the proletariat ought not to fight for 
power until it comprised a majority in the population of its country. 
.Trotsky declared at the Congress that victory would be possible oniy 
when the working class came to comprise "the majority of the nation". 
They therefore felt no need for the militant, revolutionary type of party 
without which there could be no hegemony of the working class, no 
victory of dictatorship of the proletariat. By a narrow majority, the 
Congress accepted Martov's formulation. 

Plekhanov defended Lenin's formulation of the first clause, declaring 
that Martov's formulation opened the door to the opportunists. "The 
truth is on Lenin's side," Plekhanov insisted. 

An important question was that of the organisational principles on 
which the Party was to be built. Lenin sharply condemned the separatist 
stand of the Bundists, who attempted to split the Party into nationality 
groups. The Party, he emphasised, was to be of a new type, founded on 
the principle of proletarian internationalism. The Congress firmly 
repulsed the Bundists on this point. 

A bitter struggle flared at the Congress when it came to the election 
of the Party's directing centres-the Central Committee and the editorial 
board of the Central Organ. This was a matter of paramount importance. 
Lenin maintained that only firm and consistent revolutionaries should 
be elected to the Central Committee and to the editorial board. The 
opportunists, for their part, tried to get their own followers into the 
Party centres. In the election of the editorial board of the Central Organ 
the Congress minority, headed by Martov, insisted that the old board 
(made up of six members) be retained in its entirety. Lenin proposed 
that the new editorial board be made up of only three members. The 
old board of six, as a body, had proved altogether incapable. In three 
years it had never once met in full strength, Axelrod had been 
constantly away, and had hardly worked at all-no more than three or 
four articles in 45 issues of the paper. Vera Zasulich and Potresov had 
done none of the editorial work. Issues 46 to 51 had been edited 
entirely by Lenin and Plekhanov, with no help from the others. 
Obviously, the editorial board could not continue in this way. The 
proposal that the Congress endorse the old composition of the board, 
Lenin declared, was an open attempt to provoke a clash. 

Lenin had the support of the delegates from the biggest of the Party 
committees-those of St. Petersburg, Moscow, Baku, the Don, Kiev, 
Odessa, Tula and the Northern League. In view of the fact that a 
section of the opportunists, the Bundists among them, had left the 
Congress when their proposals were defeated, the balance of forces had 
altered in favour of the firm Iskrists, who were now in the majority at 
the Congress. 

On this question, then, it was Lenin's adherents who won the day. 
-Lheir proposal to elect three members each to the Central Committee 


and to the editorial board of the Central Organ was approved. Lenin, 
Plekhanov and Martov were elected to the editorial board, and 
Krzhizhanovsky, Lengnik and Noskov to the Central Committee. 

As the supreme Party institution, the Rules adopted at the Second 
Congress set up the Council of the Party, whose function it was to co- 
ordinate and unify the activities o£ the Central Committee and the 
editorial board of the Central Organ, and also to renew these bodic 
should their membership go out of commission. The Council was to 
have five members: two from the editorial board of the Central Organ, 
two from the Central Committee, and one elected directly at the 
Congress. As this fifth member, the Congress elected Plekhanov, who 
thus became the Council chairman. Lenin became one of the Council 
members representing the editorial board of Iskra. 

Lenin's supporters, who had received the majority of votes in the 
election of the Party's central institutions, began to be known as 
Bolsheviks [from the Russian word bolshinstvo, which means, majority 
Ed.]; and the opportunists, now in the minority, became known 
Mensheviks [from menshinstuo, or minority-Ed.]. This split among the 
Iskrists was one of the most important political results of the Second 
Congress. The majority supported the principles and tactics advocated 
by Iskra, while the minority swerved to opportunism. 

The struggle at the Congress was open and determined. Lenin 
afterwards wrote, recalling a conversation he had had at the Congress 
with one of the "Centre"' delegates: 

"'How oppressive the atmosphere is at our Congress!' he complained. 
'This bitter fighting, this agitation of one against the other, this biting 
controversy, this uncomradely attitude.'. . . 'What a splendid thing our 
Congress is!' I replied. 'A free and open struggle. Opinions have been 
stated. The shades have been revealed. The groups have taken shape. 
Hands have been raised. A decision has been taken. A stage has been 
passed. Forward 1 That's the stuff for me! That's life! That's not like tftd 
endless, tedious word-chopping of your intellectuals, which stops not 
because the question has been settled, but because they are too tired o 
talk any more.'. . ■. 

"The comrade of the 'Centre' stared at me in perplexity and shrugged 
his shoulders. We were talking different languages."* 

The Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. was a turning-point in the world 
working-class movement. It crowned with victory Lenin's titanic struggle 
for the creation in Russia of a revolutionary proletarian party, a party 
of a new type, differing fundamentally from the reformist parties oi the 
Second International 

The Second Congress brought into being a party o£ a new type, the 
Leninist, Bolshevik Party. In that lies its tremendous historical 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 7, p. 347. 


"As a trend of political thought and as a political party," Lenin 
ubsequently wrote, "Bolshevism has existed since 1903."* 
Sl At the time of the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. the trends of 
development of the working-class movement in Russia had brought to 
the fore a vital political question-namely, whether this movement was 
to accept the ideology of revolutionary Marxism, or to fall under the 
sway of bourgeois ideology. Thanks to the efforts of Lenin and his 
adherents, this question was settled in favour of revolutionary Marxism. 
The victory of Lenin's brilliant plan for the creation of a revolutionary 
Marxist party, a party of social revolution and dictatorship of the prole- 
tariat, showed that in Lenin the Russian and the international proletariat 
had a great theoretician who would carry further the cause and the 
teachings of Marx and Engels, an outstanding strategist of the revolu- 
tion, seeing far ahead into the future of the working-class movement. 

After the closing of the Second Congress Lenin, with the other 
Bolshevik delegates, visited the grave of Marx in Highgate Cemetery. 
Soon afterwards he left London to resume his work in Geneva. 

The struggle within the Party after the Congress. After the Congress 
the struggle within the Party flared up with renewed force. Defeated at 
the Congress, the Mensheviks did everything in their power to sabotage 
its decisions, to disorganise Party work, and to gain control of the 
Party's central bodies. The old opportunists-the Economists-had been 
routed; but in their place, Lenin clearly realised, the Party now had to 
deal with a new brand of opportunists: the Mensheviks. And Plekhanov 
now sided with the Mensheviks. Flouting the will of the Party Congress, 
Plekhanov decided to recall to the editorial board all the former editors 
of Iskra. Lenin demanded that the Congress decisions be observed. He 
could not agree to their violation in factional interests. He therefore 
decided to resign from the Iskra editorial board and to entrench himself 
in the Central Committee, thence to campaign against the opportunists. 
He turned in a statement to the effect that he was no longer a member 
of the editorial board, and requested that this statement be published in 
Iskra. Beginning with its 52nd issue Iskra came under Menshcvik 
control On the pages of this new, opportunist Iskra, the Mensheviks 
launched a venomous campaign against Lenin and the Bolsheviks. 

In the latter half of November Lenin was co-opted to the Central 
Committee, to which he soon submitted a draft statement of protest 
against Plekhanov's co-optation of the Menshcvik former editors to the 
editorial board of Iskra. In early December Lenin wrote an open letter 
to the editorial board of the Menshevik Iskra, under the heading. Why 
J Resigned from the "Iskra" Editorial Board; but, as the editors were 
too cowardly to publish it, he was compelled to get it out himself and 
send it to Russia as a separate leaflet. 

In mid- January 1904, Lenin drafted an appeal "To the Party 
Membership", in which he criticised the opportunist views of the 

* V. i, Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 3, p. 378. 

Mcnshevik Iskra. In the Council of the Party, too, where he now repre 
scnted the Central Committee, he had to carry on a persistent struggle 
against the Mensheviks. This struggle grew so strained that he was 
compelled temporarily to leave the Council. Obviously, the Mensheviks 
aimed to gain control of the Central Committee as well; and of this 
Lenin warned the Bolsheviks in Russia, demanding that the local Patty 
committees begin preparations for convening the Third Party Congress 
Deprived of so important a means for communicating with the Party 
as the newspaper had been, Lenin maintained close contact with the 
Party organisations by personal correspondence, writing and receiving, 
at this period, as many as 300 letters monthly. Thus, in his determined 
struggle against the splitting, disorganising activities launched by the 
Mensheviks, Lenin was always backed by the mass of the Partv 

"One Step Forward, Two Steps Back". The Bolsheviks were faced 
with the urgent necessity of exposing the Mensheviks' anti-Pan 
activities, their distortion of the facts of the struggle within the Party 
both at the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. and after the Congres 
This Lenin did in his book One Step forward. Two Steps Back {The 
Crisis in Our Party), written in February to May 1904 and published in 
Geneva in May 1904. In writing this book, Lenin thoroughly review 
the minutes and resolutions of the Second Congress, the political 
groupings which had taken shape at the Congress, and the documents 
of the Central Committee and the Council of the Party. 

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back presents a detailed analysis of 
the struggle during and after the Second Congress of the R.S.D.L.P., 
focussing the attention of the Party membership on two central points: 
the political significance of the division of the Party into a "majority" 
and a "minority", and the significance in point of principle of the stand 
taken by the new Iskra on questions of organisation. By his analysis 
cf these two questions Lenin demonstrated incontrovcrtibly that 
"majority" was the revolutionary, and the "minority" the opportune-: 
wing of the R.S.D.L.P. The "minority" had manifested their opportunism 
as early as in the debate on the first clause of the Party Rules. The 
principal task of the Congress, Lenin pointed out, had been "to create 
a zeal party on the basis of the principles and organisational ideas that 
had been advanced and elaborated by Iskra. . , Iskra a programme and. 
trend were to become the programme and trend of the Party; Iskrd's 
organisational plans were to be embodied in the Rules of Organisation 
of the Party".* 

This was not to be attained without a struggle. Step by step, Lenin 
exposed the opportunist vacillations, the political spinclcssness of the 
anti-Iskrists and the unstable, "marsh" elements at the Congress. He 
took up in particular detail the discussion on the Rules, in which the 
opportunism of these elements had been most clearly manifested. 

V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 1. p. 211. 


Examining the different formulations of the first clause of the Party 
Utiles, which had aroused such heated debates at the Congress, Lenin 
stressed the necessity of understanding the true character of the 
shadings of opinion which had come out in this debate. He showed that 
it lay in essentially different understanding of the nature of the 
proletarian party and of its role in the working-class movement. 

The debate on the Rules at the Second Congress, Lenin noted, was a 
clash between the adherents of bourgeois-intellectual individualism, 
whose views and interests were expressed by the opportunist wing of 
the Congress, led by Martov, and the adherents of proletarian 
organisation and discipline. 

Ridiculing Martov's proposition that "every striker should have the 
tight to proclaim himself a Party member", Lenin showed that by this 
proposition Martov at once carried his error to the point of absurdity. 
It was the direct and unquestionable duty of Social-Democracy to direct 
all manifestations of the class struggle of the proletariat, including 
strikes. But that did not mean that every striker was a member of the 
Party. "This example of the 'striker' brings out with particular clarity 
the difference between the revolutionary striving to direct every strike 
in a Social-Democratic way and the opportunist phrase-mongering 
which proclaims every striker a Party member."* 

Lenin exposed the shameful conduct of the Mensheviks after the 
Congress, condemning their use of such unworthy methods of struggle 
as disorganisation of the Party's activities, disruption of Party work. 
Describing the position of the new, Menshevik, Iskra as opportunism 
in matters of organisation, Lenin demonstrated that this stand was 
hostile to centralism and strict proletarian discipline, that it defended 
anarchism and organisational looseness and opened wide the doors of 
the Party to petty-bourgeois, opportunist elements. 

As a result of the work of the old Iskra and of the Second Party 
Congress the Social-Democratic movement had made a great forward 
stride: it had attained ideological unity, as formulated in the Party 
Programme and the Party resolutions; it had broken away from the 
narrow circle outlook and isolation, and had brought together dozens 
of scattered groups to form a party. And after that, Lenin wrote, 
attempts were being made to drag the movement back, to destroy the 
Party, to disorganise the Party's work. The old Iskra had taught the 
truths of revolutionary struggle, had been an organ of militant Marxism. 
The new Iskra taught the worldly wisdom of yielding and getting on 
with opportunists. The old Iskra had earned the honour of being 
detested by the opportunists, both Russian and West European. The new 
I$kra, for its disorganising line, was praised by the most extreme 

The division of the R.S.D.L.P. into "majority" and "minority", Lenin 
showed, was a direct and inevitable continuation of the division of the 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 7, p. 262. 


Social-Democrats into a revolutionary and an opportunist wing which 
had long since made its appearance in other countries. A characteristic 
feature of opportunism is its vagueness, diffusencss, clusiveness. "An 
opportunist, by his very nature, will always evade taking a clear and 
decisive stand, he will always seek a middle course, he will always 
wriggle like a snake between two mutually exclusive points of view 
and try to 'agree' with both and reduce his differences of opinion to 
petty amendments, doubts, innocent and pious suggestions, and so on 
and so forth."* 

Basing himself on the ideas of Marx and Engels on the proletarian 
party, Lenin in his book One Step Forward, Two Steps Back developed 
these ideas into a consistent and integrated teaching applicable to the 
new conditions of the struggle of the proletariat in the period ot 
imperialism. According to this teaching, the Party is a part of the 
working class, its vanguard, class-conscious and organised detachment, 
the highest form of its organisation, its political leader, without whose 
guiding activities it is impossible to establish the dictatorship of the 
proletariat and to build a socialist society. Insistently, Lenin pointed 
out that "the stronger our Party organisations, consisting of real Social- 
Democrats, the less wavering and instability there is within the 
Party, the broader, more varied, richer and more fruitful will be the 
Party's influence on the elements of the working-class masses surrounding 
it and guided by it. The Party, as the vanguard of the working class, 
must not be confused, after all, with the entire class."** 

In One Step Forward, Two Steps Back Lenin worked out very definite 
standards for Party life, standards which became law for all the Party's 
subsequent activities. Of these standards, the most important are: strict 
observance of the Party Rules and a common Party discipline by all 
Party members without exception; consistent application of the principles 
of democratic centralism and inner-Party democracy; utmost develop- 
ment of the independent activity of the broad masses of the Party 
membership; development of criticism and self-criticism. Further, Lenin 
considered that Party organisations, and the Party as a whole, could 
function normally only on the condition of strict observance of the 
principle of collective leadership, which would secure the Party against 
the adoption of chance or biased decisions. 

Replying to the Party's enemies, who viewed with malicious glee the 
open controversy in which the proletarian party laid bare and discussed 
the shortcomings and defects in its work, Lenin wrote: "The Russian 
Social-Democrats are already steeled enough in battle not to be perturbed 
by these pinpricks and to continue, in spite of them, their work of self- 
criticism and ruthless exposure of their own shortcomings, which will 
unquestionably and inevitably be overcome as the working-c 
movement grows."*** 

* V. L Lenin, Collected Works. Vol. 7. p. 404. 
** Ibid., p. 260. 
*** Ibid., p. 208. 


The concluding passage of One Step Forward, Two Steps Back vividly 
demonstrates the tremendous importance Lenin attached to the 
organisation of the working class, the great guiding force he saw in 
the revolutionary proletarian party; 

"In its struggle for power the proletariat has no other weapon but 
organisation. Disunited by the rule of anarchic competition in the 
bourgeois world, ground down by forced labour for capital, constantly 
thrust back to the 'lower depths' of utter destitution, savagery and 
degeneration, the proletariat can, and inevitably will, become an invin- 
cible force only through its ideological unification on the principles of 
Marxism being reinforced by the materia] unity of organisation, which 
welds millions of toilers into an army of the working class. Neither the 
senile rule of the Russian autocracy nor the senescent rule of interna- 
tional capital will be able to withstand this army."* 

The Mcnsheviks were infuriated by One Step Forward, Two Steps 
Back. Plekhanov demanded that the Central Committee dissociate itself 
from Lenin's book. The conciliators on the Central Committee attempted 
to hold up its printing and distribution. But these efforts failed. In 
Russia, the Party organisations hailed the book with the warmest 
approval. It was widely circulated among the advanced workers. It was 
found by the police during arrests and searches in the homes of 
revolutionaries in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Baku, Riga, Saratov, 
Tula, Orel, Ufa, Perm, Kostroma, Shchigri, Shaveli (Kovno Gubernia) 
and other parts of the country. Armed with Lenin's ideas, the Bolsheviks 
united more closely than ever, and set to work to improve their forms 
of organisation. 

The campaign for the convocation of the Third Congress. The bitter 
struggle against the Mensheviks undermined Lenin's health. From the 
opening day of the Second Congress, his nerves had been strained to 
breaking point. Constantly agitated, taking deeply to heart the Menshe- 
viks' intrigues, he became a victim of complete insomnia. Over-fatigue 
compelled him, in the end, to drop everything for a time. After a week 
of rest in Lausanne, he and Krupskaya, knapsack on back, set out into 
the mountains, following wild trails into the most remote retreats. 

"The change of surroundings, the mountain air, solitude, wholesome 
Physical fatigue and normal sleep," Krupskaya later recalled, "had a 
wonderful healing effect on Vladimir Ilyich. He regained his old vigour 
and spirit, his old cheerfulness." 

After their trip through the mountains, Lenin and Krupskaya spent 
August in a little village by Lac de Bre (in the vicinity of Lausanne). 
Lenin took great pleasure in digging in the kitchen-garden with the 
Swiss peasant in whose home they lodged. This outdoor labour rested 
him splendidly. With A. Bogdanov and M. Olminsky, who were also 
summering here, Lenin discussed plans for further work. It was decided 
to start publication of a Bolshevik organ abroad, and to launch 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 7, p. 415. 


extensive agitation in Russia for the ealling of the Third Congress. On 
his return to Geneva, in early autumn, Lenin moved from the suburbs tc 
new quarters, closer to the central part of the city. He now spent much 
time at the library of the Societe de lecture, which provided excellent 
working conditions. The members of the Society were rare visitors at 
the library, and Lenin had a room entirely to himself. He could pace 
up and down, as he was accustomed, when thinking out an article, and 
take books from the shelves at pleasure. There was nothing and no 
one to interrupt or hinder his work. 

In Russia, at this time, a revolutionary crisis was brewing. For many 
months now the country had been plunged into the Russo-Japanese 
War, which had laid bare all the vice, all the rotten core, of the tsarisl 
autocracy. Prophetically, Lenin wrote that the shameful end of this 
shameful war was not far off; that it would intensify the revolutionary 
unrest in the country and would call for the most determined offensive 
measures on the part of the party of the proletariat. And he worked 
to prepare the Party for the approaching revolution. 

In view of the tasks facing the Party, it became more and more 
urgent that the Third Party Congress be called without delay. The 
Mensheviks persisted in their disruptive activities. Taking advantage 
of the vacillations and the conciliatory stand of Central Committer 
members V. Noskov, L. Galperin and L. Krasin, the Mensheviks gained 
control of the Central Committee as well. With all the Party centres in 
their hands, they could allow themselves still more freedom. They were 
actively supported, too, by the leaders of the Second International, who 
opposed the rise in Russia of a Marxist party of a new type, 

A letter written by Potresov in May 1904 may be quoted here as a 
vivid instance of the subversive intrigues of the Mensheviks, and of 
the support they received from the leaders of the Second Internationa!. 
On receiving Kautsky's agreement to the publication in Iskra of his 
article against the Bolsheviks, Potresov wrote to Axelrod: "And so, the 
first bomb has been cast, and-God willing-Lenin will be blown up. 
I would attach the greatest importance to the elaboration of a joint 
plan of campaign against Lenin. If he is to be blown up, let him be 
blown up completely, methodically, systematically. ... The question is, 
how to strike at Lenin. First of all, to my mind, there should be an 
attack by the big shots-Kautsky (already provided), Rosa Luxemburg, 
and Parvus. . . . But how is the next blow to be dealt? By all of us* 
Should we fill Iskra with our articles, and to what extent? And what if 
we put out a collective pamphlet against him?.,. Your proposal that 
we demand that the Central Committee recall Lenin from the Council 
seems to me hardly acceptable,- and in any case, opinion must first be 
stirred up against him. Only then can we begin to think of anything tn 
that order."* 

* The Social-Democratic Movement in Russia, Russ. cd. f Moscow-Leningrad 
1928, Vol. I. pp. 124, 125. 


Lenin exposed the true, opportunist nature of the Russian and West 
European renegades from Marxism. The blow thus dealt to international 
revisionism was of tremendous assistance towards the development of 
the revolutionary working-class movement the world over. 

Although formally united with the Mensheviks in a single party, the 
r.S.D.L.P., the Bolsheviks followed an independent, consistently revolu- 
tionary line that accorded with the fundamental interests of the 
proletariat, the peasantry, and all the different peoples inhabiting Russia. 
In August 1904, a conference of twenty-two Bolsheviks held under 
Lenin's guidance in the vicinity of Geneva discussed the question of the 
Party crisis and how to end it. The conference adopted an appeal "To 
the Party", written by Lenin, which called upon the Party organisations 
to campaign for the immediate convening of the Third Congress, as the 
one possible way out of the crisis. This appeal became the Bolsheviks' 
fighting programme for Party unity. 

In this most critical period of struggle within the Party Lenin had 
the support of the majority of the Party committees within Russia, 
which launched an active campaign for the Congress, In September 
to December, three regional conferences of Bolshevik committees 
(Southern, Caucasian and Northern) elected a Bureau of Majority 
Committees, which, under Lenin's leadership, began practical prepara- 
tions for the Third Party Congress. In his draft "Announcement of the 
Formation of a Bureau of Majority Committees", Lenin wrote: "Our 
slogan is the fight for the Party spirit against the circle spirit, the fight 
for the consistent revolutionary line against zigzags, confusion, and a 
reversion to Rabocheye Dyelo-ism, a fight in the name of proletarian 
organisation and discipline against the disrupters of organisation."' 

As the immediate tasks of the Party, Lenin listed the establishment 
of ideological and organisational unity among the Bolsheviks, both in 
Russia and abroad; support of the publishing house for mass Party 
literature organised abroad; the struggle against the opportunism of the 
Mensheviks, who had seized control of the central bodies of the Party; 
preparations for the Third Party Congress, and assistance to the local 
Party committees. 

The struggle with the Mensheviks grew more and more bitter. The 
Mcnshevik Iskra and Central Committee resorted to the most unworthy 
methods in their anti-Party splitting activity. Lenin called upon the 
Bolsheviks to break decisively with the Mensheviks and to convene 
the Third Congress of the Party without delay. "The centres," he wrote, 
'have put themselves outside the Party. There is no middle ground; 
°ne is either with the centres, or with the Party. It is time to draw the 
line of demarcation."** 

In the struggle for the Party and the Party principle, Lenin attached 
Particular importance, and devoted particular attention, to the founding 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 7, pp. 492-93. 
** Ibid., Vol. 8, p. 64. 


of a Bolshevik newspaper. "The main thing now is to have such an 
organ/' he wrote to the Bolsheviks in Russia. In early December 1904, 
Lenin addressed meetings in Paris and in Switzerland, reporting on 
the situation in the Party. The money collected at these gatherings was 
used for the founding of the newspaper. As an interesting detail, wc 
may note that when the Socialist- Revolutionary group in Zurich learned 
that Lenin would be speaking there they wrote to their leader, Chernov, 
appealing for help: "We most urgently request that you speak here, 
and oppose Lenin, who, they say, will soon arrive. We will telegraph 
you when he arrives. Our existence here depends on your eloquence.'' 

At a meeting of Bolsheviks, headed by Lenin, held in Geneva on 
November 29 (December 12), the question of founding a Bolshevr 
Party organ was finally decided. The meeting endorsed Lenin's sugges 
tion for the name of the newspaper-Vperyotf [Fonuard)-and the text 
of the announcement of its publication. The name Lenin had chosen 
tor the paper expressed the Bolsheviks' determination to push ever 
forward in the work of consolidating the Party and of organising the 
working-class movement, whereas the Mensheviks were trying to drag 
the Party back to the outlived stage of organisational disunity and lh_ 
circle principle. The meeting set up the editorial board of the paper- 
Lenin, V. Vorovsky, M. Olminsky and A. Lunacharsky-and discussed 
the articles prepared for the first issue. As V. Karpinsky, a participant 
in the meeting, recalls, this free discussion and frank criticism, a striking 
manifestation of inner-Party democracy, deeply impressed the rank-and- 
file Party members. 

In "A Letter to the Comrades (With Reference to the Forthcoming 
Publication of the Organ of the Party Majority)" Lenin stressed the 
designation of the newspaper Vperyod as an organ of the Russian 
working-class movement, and proposed that regular correspondence be 
set up between the Party functionaries and the editorial board, so that 
the paper would be the product of collective Party effort. Lenin was 
particularly anxious that worker correspondents contribute to the 
paper. He asked the comrades to inform him as to how the workers 
had received the news of the founding of a Bolshevik newspaper and 
the appeal to them to write for it. He considered it highly important 
that tens and hundreds of workers write directly to the paper, and thai 
they give their addresses so that Vperyod might be sent to them. He 
advised the organisation of subscriptions to the paper among the 

Comrades leaving for Russia, M. Olminsky was later to recall, 
would be instructed by Lenin "to make it their particular care that 
workers write to the editorial board about the life of the factories. To 
every local functionary arriving from Russia, the question was put: 
'Arc there workers on your committee? And if not, why not?' 

* Krosnaya Letopis No. 1 (22), 1927, p. 35. 

"One day two young committee members, just arrived from Odessa, 
answered : 

" 'We tried having workers on the committee, but it didn't work out.' 
" 'What was the trouble?' 

" 'Why, they demanded right off that we put out leaflets about wages 
and other petty demands in the different factories.' 

"With what indignation Ilyich came down on those young commit- 
teemen! How he lashed out at them, explaining that this demand of the 
Odessa workers proved more than anything else how necessary and 
beneficial it would be to have workers among the members of the 

The first issue of Vperyod came out in Geneva on December 22, 
1904 (January 4, 1905). The issue included several articles written by 
Lenin, among them "The Autocracy and the Proletariat" (editorial), 
"Good Demonstrations of Proletarians and Poor Arguments of Certain 
Intellectuals" and "Time To Call a Halt". Lenin stressed the fact that 
"the line of Vperyod is the line oi the old 'Iskra'. In the name of the 
old Iskra, Vperyod resolutely combats the new Iskra" ** Under Lenin's 
guidance, the newspaper Vperyod played an important part in the 
struggle to consolidate the Party and in the preparations for the Third 

Lenin's long years of persistent and courageous revolutionary activity 
had gained him tremendous prestige among the Russian Social- 
Democrats. Inspired by his daring plan for the creation of the Party, 
the finest representatives of the working class, the Bolsheviks, rallied 
to his side. They were now ready for new battles-for the approaching 
revolutionary storm of 1905. 

* Reminiscences of Lenin, Russ. cd., Moscow, 1960, Part 3, pp. 10-11. 

* V. i. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 8, p. 130. 

Chapter Five 


Without ilu* "clrc-s lvheaisal" of 1905, the victory <>l ! 
October Revolution in I'JIT Wotflcl bWlfe bpcii iinposstbti . 

The year 1905 began with events that were destined to make history. 
On January 3, a strike broke out at the Putilov Works in St. Petersburg- 
involving 12,000 workers. The Putilov strike was supported by the 
workers of other St. Petersburg factories. On January 7, the strike became 

The tsarist government did everything in its power to check the 
working-class movement. Police and soldiery-over forty thousand men- 
were concentrated in the capital, to terrorise the workers by violence 
and bloodshed and thus to squelch the movement before it could 
develop further. At the same time, steps were taken to intensify the 
activity of the Zubatov organisations-bogus workers' organisation- 
subsidised by the police, designed to divert the workers from political, 
revolutionary struggle and to direct the working-class movement along 
the reformist path. Particularly active was the Assembly of Russian 


N. Lenin. Deux tactiques. 
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Cover of the first edition of Lenin's book Two Tactics ol Social-Democracy 
in the Democratic Revolution 

Factory Workers of St. Petersburg, with a membership of almost nine 
thousand, led by the priest Gapon-an agent of the secret police. Gapon 
proposed that the workers march in procession to the tsar and present 
a petition stating their needs. Convinced that once the tsar learned of 
the intolerable hardships the people were suffering, he would be sure 
to help them, the workers supported Gapon's plan. The Bolsheviks 
warned the people that nothing could be attained by such a petition; 
but, realising that the procession could not be prevented, they decided 
to march in it together with the workers. 

Bloody Sunday. Early in the morning on Sunday, January 9, the 
workers of St. Petersburg, carrying church banners, icons and portraits 
of the tsar, set out in procession towards the Winter Palace. Many had 
brought along their families-wives, children, old folk, all in festive 
spirits. Over 140,000 people joined in the march. As had been planned 
beforehand, the tsarist government gave the order to open fire on the 
unarmed marchers. Over a thousand were killed and nearly five 
thousand wounded, in this "dastardly, cold-blooded massacre of 
defenceless and peaceful people".* 

The tsarist government had thought, by such bloodshed and violence, 
to crush the workers' fighting spirit, to teach the lesson of humility 
and obedience. But the government had miscalculated. The shooting 
down of peaceful, unarmed petitioners destroyed the people's naive 
faith in the tsar's "kindness" and "mercy". Even the most backward 
workers now realised that neither appeals nor petitions could ease the 
unbearable conditions in which they lived; that freedom could be won 
only with arms in hand. The Zubatovite attempt to turn the working- 
class movement from the path of revolution ended in hopeless failure. 
Before evening fell, barricades were being thrown up in the working- 
class districts of St. Petersburg. The people began to rise in struggle 
against tsarism. 

Lenin learned of the January 9 events on the following morning, with 
deep emotion. "Instinct drew us," recalls Krupskaya, "together with all 
the other Bolsheviks who had heard the news, to the emigrants' 
restaurant kept by the Lcpeshinskys. We sought each other's company. 
But hardly a word was spoken-we were all so excited. We sang the 
revolutionary funeral march You Have Fallen in the Struggle . . . with 
grim set faces. The realisation came over everyone in a wave that the 
revolution had begun, that the shackles of faith in the tsar had been 
torn apart, and the hour was near when 'tyranny shall fall, and the 
People shall rise up, great, powerful, and free' "** 

Hi^u? Same day Lenin wrotc his article "Revolution in Russia", 
"nobbing with the hot breath of revolution, vividly portraying the 
Oercuc struggle of the St. Petersburg proletariat on January 9. "Force 
against force. Street fighting is raging, barricades are being* thrown up, 

J V. L Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 8. p. 109. 

N. K. Krupskaya, Reminiscences of Lenin, Moscow, 1959, pp, 110-11. 


rifles are crackling, guns arc roaring. Rivers of blood are flowing, the 
civil war for freedom is blazing up. Moscow and the South, the Caucasu 
and Poland are ready to join the proletariat of St. Petersburg. The 
slogan of the workers has become: Death or freedom!"* "Long live the 
revolution! Long live the insurgent proletariat!" Lenin proclaimed. 

On January 9, 1905, Lenin wrote, the Russian working class received 
a momentous lesson in civil war; the revolutionary education of the 
proletariat made more progress in this one day than it could have made 
in months and years of drab, humdrum, wretched existence. Lenin 
assessed the workers' wrathful protest against tsarist bloodshed and 
repression as the beginning of revolution in Russia. 

Lenin's assessment of the first Russian revolution. Compelled to live 
as a political emigrant, in the "accursed afar", as he bitterly put it, 
Lenin kept in close touch with events in Russia, reacting swiftly to each 
new development and subjecting it to thorough analysis and appraisal. 
With brilliant foresight, he had recognised the inevitability of revolu- 
tion long before its outbreak, and had foreseen that it would involve 
the entire people. And he had worked indefatigably to prepare the 
Party for the coming social battles, in which the working class was 
destined to play the leading role. 

When the revolution began Lenin stressed the tremendous influence 
that would be exerted on the world working-class movement by the 
heroic struggle of the proletariat in Russia. "The proletariat of the 
whole world," he wrote, "is now looking eagerly towards the proletariat 
of Russia. The overthrow of tsarism in Russia, so valiantly begun by 
our working class, will be the turning-point in the history of all 
countries; it will facilitate the task of the workers of all nations, in all 
states, in all parts of the globe."** 

Lenin's instructive articles in the Bolshevik press, his numerous 
letters to Party organisations, his conversations with comrades arriving 
from Russia helped and guided the Party in the development of the 
revolution. "We worked in Russia, touring the committees and putting 
into practice the directions Ilyich gave us," recalls M. Lyadov. "Every 
now and again I'd go abroad, illegally, and spend a week or so there. 
1 would tell Ilyich all the news, get his instructions and advice, and 
then back I'd go to look up the comrades from the Bureau of Majority 
Committees. And it was always a wonder to us, living as he did in 
Geneva, how clearly Ilyich grasped the situation, how well he and 
stood all the tangled interrelations brought about in Russia by the 
unsuccessful war with Japan and by the bloodshed on the ninth of 

Lenin explained the nature of the first Russian revolution, its specific 
features as determined by the course of history. In character ana 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 8, p. 71. 
** Ibid., p. 100. 

*** About Lenin, Collection of Reminiscences. Russ. cel.. Book 2. Edited and fore- 
word by N. Meshcheryakov, Moscow, 1925, pp. 93-94. 


objectives, he demonstrated, this was a bourgeois-democratic revolution, 
aimed at the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy, the abolition of landed 
proprietorship and other survivals of serfdom, and the establishment 
f a democratic republic. Notwithstanding its bourgeois-democratic 
nature, however, the leader and chief motive force in this revolution was 
the proletariat. Actually, as Lenin was later to show, the revolution was 
in some senses a proletarian one: both in the sense that the proletariat 
was its leading force, and in its specifically proletarian methods of 
struggle, most important among these being strikes and armed uprising. 
Only the proletariat-consistently and actively revolutionary, and 
ruthlessly uncompromising in its attitude towards the autocracy-could 
carry the revolution to complete victory over tsarism; and such victory 
could be achieved only if the proletariat gained the following of the 
peasantry, if proletariat and peasantry acted in close alliance, 

The specific feature distinguishing the Russian revolution from earlier 
bourgeois revolutions in the West lay, as Lenin pointed out, in the fact 
that this was the first people's revolution to take place in the new 
historical conditions, when the bourgeoisie had already become a 
counter-revolutionary force, and the proletariat had grown into an 
independent political force capable of heading the revolutionary 
struggle against tsarism. 

Lenin defined the tasks set before the Party, as the leader and 
organiser of the working class, by the revolution that had now begun. 
The revolution, he pointed out, created new conditions for the Party's 
activities and new ways and means o£ educating the masses. It was the 
duty of the Party organisations to launch broad organisational effort, 
to encourage revolutionary initiative, unhesitatingly to advance young, 
rising forces. To carry out its functions as the vanguard of the 
proletariat, the Party must reorganise its work and its methods of mass 
leadership as demanded by the new, revolutionary situation. "The more 
the popular movement spreads," Lenin wrote, "the more clearly will 
the true nature of the different classes stand revealed and the more 
pressing will the Party's task be in leading the class, in becoming 
its organiser."* It was the duty, the fundamental task of the workers' 
Party, he declared, persistently, day by day, to rally and unite the 
forces of the proletariat, preparing them for open mass struggle, for 
an armed uprising of the entire people to overthrow the autocracy. 

Lenin devoted great attention, in that period, to the question of armed 
smuggle by the masses, to the proper organisation of insurrection. 
Krupskaya writes: "Ilyich had not only reread and very carefully studied 
and thought over all that Marx and Engcls had written about revolution 
and insurrection, but had read many books dealing with the art o£ 
Warfare, made a thorough study of the technique and organisation of 
armed uprising. He had given more thought to this than people know."** 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 8, p. 216. 
** N. K. Krupskaya, Reminiscences oi Lenin, Moscow. 1959, p. 114. 


Of particular interest to Lenin was the experience of the Paris 
Commune. This, he felt, must be brought to the knowledge of Social- 
Democratic and advanced workers in Russia. He edited for publication 
in the newspaper Vperyod a Russian translation of the memoirs of 
General Cluseret, Street Fighting, in which the experience of the 
Paris Communards in barricade fighting is summed up and generalised, 
and wrote a preface to the memoirs and a brief biography of this 
famous general of the Commune. On March 5 (18), 1905, at a meeting 
of the Russian colony of political emigrants in Geneva, Lenin read a 
paper on the Paris Commune. "In the present movement we all stand 
on the shoulders of the Commune/' 5 * Lenin reminded his hearers. 

The Third Party Congress. During the revolution the differences 
between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks intensified. The 
Mensheviks' opportunism was brought out with particular clarity by 
their appraisal of the motive forces in the Russian bourgeois- 
democratic revolution, and by the tactics they adopted. To them, the 
bourgeoisie seemed the principal motive force in the revolution. This 
conception was a distortion of Marxism. It came of failure to under- 
stand the new conditions of the class struggle between the proletariat 
and the bourgeoisie in the era of imperialism; of failure to recognise 
the leading role of the working class in these new conditions. 

The Mensheviks held that the chief concern of Social-Democracy and 
the working class should be to avoid frightening the bourgeoisie by 
"excessive" revolutionary spirit. Assigning the leading role in the 
revolution to the bourgeoisie, the Mensheviks thereby depreciated not 
enly the role of the proletariat, but also that of the proletarian party 
as leader and organiser of the masses. 

Uncompromisingly, Lenin combated the opportunist line of the 
Mensheviks, exposing their limited, dogmatic, hackneyed political 
thinking, their cowardice and fear of the revolution, their betrayal of 
the interests of the proletariat and the peasantry. The Mensheviks, he 
wrote, "tear . . . the leading role in the democratic revolution, and they 
are terrified at the thought of having 'to conduct the uprising'. The 
thought lurks at the back of their minds-only they do not yet dare to 
voice it outright in the columns of /sfera-that the Social-Democratic 
organisation must not 'conduct the uprising', that it must not strive 3 
take full control over the revolutionary transition to the democratic 

While Lenin and the Bolsheviks worked far in advance to prepare the 
proletariat for revolution, for active leadership in revolutionary events, 
the efforts of the Mensheviks were directed towards disarming the 
working class both ideologically and organisationally, educating it in 
the spirit of reformism and adaptation to the policy and tactics of the 
liberal bourgeoisie. Throughout the revolution, the Mensheviks pursued 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 8, p. 208. 
** Ibid., p. 173. 

this anti-revolutionary, opportunist line, which Lenin subjected to 
annihilating criticism. 

In his constructive approach to the problems raised by the revolution, 
Lenin emphasised the tremendous importance of the proletarian party. 
He demonstrated, in sharp ideological dispute with the Mensheviks, 
that tsardom could be overthrown, and a democratic republic 
established, only if the struggle of the revolutionary masses was 
directed by a party of the working class. The hegemony of the 
proletariat in the revolution and the vanguard role of the proletarian 
party-such was the basic idea which Lenin maintained in all his 
writings and in all his activities, which he upheld in implacable struggle 
against the Mensheviks. 

The crisis within the R.S.DX.P. intensified. There was hardly a 
question of tactics or organisation that did not arouse furious differences 
between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks in the local R.S D.L.P. 
committees. The central Party bodies, which had been seized by the 
Mensheviks, had lost the respect of the majority of the Party 
functionaries. Such a state of affairs could not be tolerated, the more 
so that the rising tide of revolution demanded of the proletarian party 
concerted, united action, unerring tactics. To end the Mensheviks' 
opportunism in matters of organisation and tactics and to work out 
united tactics for the proletariat in the revolution, it was essential that 
a Party Congress be convened without delay. But this the Mensheviks 
did everything in their power to prevent. 

The Bureau of Majority Committees, under Lenin's guidance, began 
preparations for the Third Party Congress. In an editorial written by 
Lenin, "The Convening of the Third Party Congress", the newspaper 
Vperyod presented a tentative agenda for the Congress. As the central 
issue at the Congress, it advanced the questions of organisation and 
tactics posed by the vast sweep of the revolutionary movement in the 

Having mapped out a programme of work for the Congress, Lenin 
elaborated the basic ideas on tactics which he intended to present for 
discussion at the Congress, and drew up draft resolutions on all the 
principal questions to be considered. Also, he drew up a questionnaire 
designed to collect and generalise the practical experience of the Party 
organisations, indispensable for the revision of the Party Rules and for 
^drafting of the Congress resolutions. The collective experience of 
ail Party members, Lenin felt, was of vital importance to the proper 
solution of the questions of organisation and tactics raised by the 
revolutionary movement. He proposed that all the Party committees, 
°°tn Bolshevik and Menshevik, be invited to the Congress. But the 

Mensheviks refused to participate in the Third Congress. Instead, acting 
«s a body entirely split away from the Party, they called a congress of 

Aeir own, in Geneva. So few delegates arrived, however, that this 
yatnenng was termed merely a conference. Two congresses-two parties. 
wa s Lenin's comment. 


The Third Party Congress was held in London. On their way to 
London some of the delegates stopped off at Geneva to confer with 
Lenin. In his talks with them Lenin inquired about the situation in 
their Party organisations, about the factories operating in their localities 
and the number of workers these factories employed; about the number 
of workers belonging to the Party, the mood of the peasants and the 
soldiery, etc. And he, in turn, explained to them his plans and view. 

The Congress opened on April 12 (25), 1905. It was attended by 
delegates from twenty-one Bolshevik committees, 

Lenin had been accredited by the Odessa Committee. Elected chairman 
of the Congress, Lenin directed all its work. He spoke on the principal 
items on the agenda: on the armed uprising, on the participation of the 
Social-Democrats in a provisional revolutionary government, on the 
attitude towards the peasant movement. The Congress Minutes record 
some 140 statements and proposals made by Lenin. He kept a detailed 
diary of the Congress sittings, and, as a member of the resolutions 
committee, drafted and edited resolutions and reports. 

The Bolshevik Congress mapped out a strategic plan and revolution- 
ary tactics for the Party in the bourgeois-democratic revolution. In 
substance, the plan was that the proletariat, acting in alliance with 
whole of the peasantry and neutralising the liberal bourgeoisie, must 
carry the bourgeois-democratic revolution to its completion and thus 
clear the way for a socialist revolution. 

The Congress discussed the question of armed uprising thoroughly, 
in every aspect It adopted a resolution, drafted by Lenin, which 
declared it one of the major and most urgent tasks of the Party to 
organise the proletariat for direct struggle against the autocracy by 
means of armed uprising. The Congress instructed all Party organisa- 
tions to explain to the proletariat not only the political significance, but 
also the practical, organisational aspect of the impending armed 
uprising, and the part to be played in the rising by mass political 
strikes. The Party organisations, the Congress resolution stated, must 
take energetic steps to arm the proletariat and to draw up a plan for 
the armed uprising and for direct leadership in it. 

Speaking at the Congress, Lenin sharply criticised the opportunist 
views and actions of the Menshevik ideologists-Plekhanov, Mar to v and 
Martynov. In his report on the participation of the Social-Democrats 
in a provisional revolutionary government, Lenin demolished the 
Mensheviks' dogmatic arguments against Social-Democratic partMp 
tion in such a government. Once the tsarist regime had been overthrown, 
he demonstrated, a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the 
proletariat and the peasantry would have to be set up, with a provisional 
revolutionary government as its political organ. And, if conditions we - 
favourable, representatives of the Social-Democrats must enter this 
provisional government, there to combat ruthlessly all attempts at 
counter-revolution and to uphold the independent interests of m? 
working class in order to carry the revolution to its completion. 


Recalling this speech of Lenin's M. Tskhakaya writes: "He began his 
report very simply. Wrathfully exposing the opportunist theses 
propounded in the articles of the Menshevik Iskra, he opposed these 
rotten Menshevik ideas with firm revolutionary Marxist directives. He 
illustrated his thoughts abundantly with facts taken from the history 
of the international working-class movement and particularly from the 
current struggle of the workers in Russia in the early months of 
revolutionary 1905. Towards the end o£ his speech all the delegates 
w ere standing, listening with breathless attention, carried away by the 
iron logic of the theoretician, tribune and organiser of the revolution. 

"When Ilyich had finished, there was round upon round of thunderous 
applause. Before us stood a great revolutionary, theoretician and 

Lenin's draft resolution on the relations between workers and 
intellectuals within the Social-Democratic organisations called upon the 
Party to "make every effort to strengthen the ties between the Party 
and the masses of the working class by raising still wider sections of 
proletarians and semi-proletarians to full Social-Democratic conscious- 
ness".* * Lenin insisted that worker Social-Democrats be advanced to 
membership on the local Party centres and the all-Party centre. 
Workers, Lenin pointed out, have the class instinct, and, given some 
political experience, they soon become staunch Marxists. On learning 
that there was only one worker on the St. Petersburg committee, he 
exclaimed indignantly, "Disgraceful!" And in one of his speeches at 
the Congress he declared, "I could hardly keep my seat when it was 
said here that there are no workers fit to sit on the committees."*** 

The growth of the peasant movement in Russia made it essential that 
the Party formulate its agrarian platform. Now that the peasant 
movement was on the order of the day, Lenin said, the Party of the 
proletariat must officially declare its full support of this movement. It 
was the Party's first task to make the peasant masses politically 
conscious, to set up revolutionary peasant committees to carry through 
land reforms. 

The Congress endorsed Lenin's formulation of the first clause of the 
Party Rules. It set up a single authoritative Party centre, the Central 
Committee, headed by Lenin; and the Central Committee appointed 
Lenin as its representative abroad, and also as responsible editor of the 
newspaper Proletary, established by the Congress as the Central Organ 
of the Party in place of Iskra. 

After the Congress Lenin, with the other delegates, visited the grave 
°t Karl Marx, as he had done after the Second Congress. In the days 
Remaining before his departure from London, he took the delegates, 
:? r J 10 ^ of whom this was their first trip abroad, to see the sights of 
^British capital. Then, with a group of delegates, he left for Geneva. 

** teimmscences ol Lenin, Russ. ed. ( 1956, Part 1, p. 303. 
*** Ibid L ^ 1 ' 1 CoUected Works - m s - PP- 409 - 10 - 


During the brief stop in Paris, Lenin showed his comrades place > 
connected with the revolutionary struggles of the French people, and 
with them visited the Pere Lachaisc Cemetery, where the Paris 
Communards had been shot. 

Lenin attributed the greatest importance to propaganda of the 
tactical line adopted by the Third Congress and to criticism of the 
Mensheviks' opportunist tactics. 

In this a large part was played by the newspaper Proletary. 
continuing the traditions of the old Iskra and Vperyod, Proletary was 
published in Geneva over a period of six months, in which time it- 
carried something like 90 articles and items written by Lenin. Its first 
issue contained three articles by Lenin devoted to the Congress: "Report 
on the Third Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party" 
(editorial); "The Third Congress", and a note to the resolution "How 
the Congress Was Constituted". It published also the most impori. 
of the Congress resolutions, most of which had been drawn up by Lenin, 

Lenin informed the International Socialist Bureau-the executive and 
information body of the Second International-of the Third Party 
Congress and of its decision to consider the newspaper Proletary the 
Central Organ of the R.S.D.L.P, He arranged for the publication of the 
more important Congress documents in German and in French, to help 
advanced West European workers reach a proper understanding of the 
tactics of the Bolsheviks. In reply to the distorted account of the Third 
Congress resolutions published by Kautsky, Lenin sent an open letter 
of protest to the editorial board of the Leipziger Volkszeitung, in which, 
addressing himself to the German Social-Democrats, he wrote: "If you 
really consider the R.S.D.L.P. to be a fraternal party, do not believe a 
word of what the so-called impartial Germans tell you about our split. 
Insist on seeing the documents, the authentic documents. And do not 
forget that prejudice is further from the truth than ignorance."* 

The Third Congress decisions were received by the majority o£ the 
Party organisations in Russia as a militant programme of struggle f or 
the victory of the democratic revolution; they served as the basis of 
the Party's entire practical activity. 

"Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution". 
The most urgent task of the proletarian party in that period, Lenin 
held, lay in the thorough study and propaganda of the tactical 
resolutions of the Third Congress of the Bolsheviks, in attaining a 
clear understanding of the concrete tasks of the. proletariat in the 
democratic revolution. It was essential, further, that the opportunist 
line of the Mensheviks be exposed before the whole of Social- 
Democracy and before the broad masses of the workers. This Lenin 
did in his book Two Tactics oi Social-Democracy in the Democratic 
Revolution, written during June and July 1905 and published in Geneva 
at the end of July. 

* V. I. Lenin. Collected Works, Vol. S, pp. 532-33. 


In Two Tactics Lenin set forth brilliantly the theoretical considerations 
behind the Third Congress decisions, behind the Bolsheviks' strategic 
plan and tactical line in the revolution. It was Lenin who first went into 
the question of the specific features of the bourgeois-democratic 
revolution in Russia, its motive forces and its prospects. Thoughts 
which he had set out briefly in articles and in speeches at the Congress 
received profound and thorough treatment in his Two Tactics. In this 
book he presented a comprehensive substantiation of the idea of 
hegemony of the proletariat in the bourgeois-democratic revolution- 
the basis of the Party's strategy and tactics in that period. At the same 
time he subjected to devastating criticism the tactical line adopted by 
the Mensheviks at their Geneva conference, and pointed out the basic 
difference between the Bolshevik and the Menshevik tactics in the 

The Mensheviks attempted to bolster up their opportunist tactics by 
reference to the bourgeois revolutions of the past. Drawing formal 
unhistorical analogies between the revolution in Russia at the beginning 
of the twentieth century and the West European bourgeois revolutions 
of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, they maintained that in 
Russia, just as in Western Europe, it would be the bourgeoisie that 
played the leading role in the revolution. That being so, they argued, 
the task of the proletariat and of its party lay in supporting the liberal 
bourgeoisie, in urging it on from below ; and to anything more than 
that, in the bourgeois revolution, the proletariat neither could nor should 
aspire. Lenin scouted this anti-Marxist assessment of the character and 
motive forces of the Russian revolution. The Mensheviks, he showed, 
argued along dogmatic, stereotyped lines. They evinced neither the 
ability nor the desire to understand the new conditions in which the 
revolution in Russia was taking place. 

A scientific analysis of Russia's social-economic and political develop- 
ment and of the experience of the world revolutionary movement 
brought Lenin to the conclusion that the bourgeois revolution in Russia 
did not fall into the same category as the West European revolutions 
of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, inasmuch as it was taking 
place in a different historical period-in the era of imperiahsm-and at 
afar more advanced stage of the class struggle between the proletariat 
and the bourgeoisie. The Russian bourgeois revolution differed 
fundamentally from all past revolutions in that it was the proletariat, 
and not the bourgeoisie, that formed its leading force. 

The Mensheviks did not understand the meaning of the concept, 
bourgeois revolution. As they saw it, a bourgeois revolution could be 
°f advantage only to the bourgeoisie. There could be nothing, Lenin 

more erroneous than such an idea. The elimination of all 
survivals of the serf-owning system, which hampered the free and 
r apid development of capitalism, was indisputably of advantage to the 
working class. But this could be accomplished only as a result of the 
Victory of the bourgeois revolution. "The more complete, determined, 


and consistent the bourgeois revolution/' Lenin wrote, "the more assured 
will the proletariat's struggle be against the bourgeoisie and for 

Lenin showed, further, that in a certain sense a bourgeois revolution 
was more advantageous to the proletariat than to the bourgeoisie; that 
the bourgeoisie was anxious to restrict the scope of the revolution, to 
confine it within the framework of constitutional-monarchist law. It was 
to the interest of the bourgeoisie that the monarchy, and with it the 
entire feudal state machinery-courts, police, standing army-should not 
be smashed completely, that they be preserved so far as possible, for 
they would be needed to fight the workers and to defend bourgeois 
private property. It was to the advantage of the bourgeoisie that the 
introduction of bourgeois democracy be accomplished as slowly as 
possible, that it come gradually, by means of cautious reforms and not 
by means of revolution. The working class, on the other hand, would 
gain more if the essential measures in the direction of bourgeois 
democracy were accomplished by revolution rather than reform; if the 
monarchy and its institutions were removed from the nation's body by 
way of swift, direct amputation, which would do completely away with 
the old police autocracy. But to achieve this the working class must be 
the most active of the revolutionary forces. "Marxism," Lenin wrote, 
"teaches the proletarian not to keep aloof from the bourgeois revolution, 
not to be indifferent to it, not to allow the leadership of the revolution 
to be assumed by the bourgeoisie but, on the contrary, to take a most 
energetic part in it, to fight most resolutely for consistent proletarian 
democratism, for the revolution to be carried to its conclusion."** 

Lenin posed the question : what were the social forces that determined 
the sweep of the revolution? And he proceeded to examine these forces 
The bourgeoisie, he showed, was self-seeking and cowardly in its 
attitude towards the revolution; and as the revolution developed it 
would be more and more inclined to come to terms with tsarism, to 
desert to the side of counter-revolution. Only the proletariat, he 
demonstrated, could remain consistent to the end, could carry the 
democratic revolution to complete victory. This, however, it could not 
achieve alone, but only in close alliance with the peasantry, which had 
a vital interest in the complete destruction of the autocracy, in the 
establishment of a republic, in clearing Russian soil of all remnants 
of serfdom. Only the victory of the revolution could solve the land 
problem and other problems troubling the peasantry, could help it to 
emerge from the mire of semi-serfdom, from the murk of oppression 
and poverty, and improve its living conditions. 

Lenin's Marxist appraisal of the character and motive forces of the 
Russian revolutionary process indicated the only road that could lead 
to the victory of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia. The 
Mensheviks' assessment of the motive forces of the bourgeois 

V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 9, p. 50. 
•* Ibid., p. 52. 


revolution, on the contrary, doomed the proletariat to complete 
isolation, to passivity and defeat; it played into the hands of the 

Comparing the resolutions of the Third Congress with those of the 
jylenshevik conference, Lenin wrote: "One resolution expresses the 
psychology of active struggle, the other that of the passive onlooker; 
one resounds with the call for live action, the other is steeped in 
lifeless pedantry."* 

Lenin held that the victory of a bourgeois-democratic revolution in 
which the proletariat played the leading role and was the principal 
motive force should result not in a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, but 
in a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and 
peasantry. Only such a dictatorship of the two revolutionary classes 
could put a complete end to tsarism and crush the resistance of the 
landowners and the big bourgeoisie. And it would have to rely on 
military force, on the armed masses, on an uprising-not on institutions 
"lawfully" or "peaceably" established. 

The political organ of the revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of 
the proletariat and peasantry would be a provisional revolutionary 
government, backed by the armed people. The Mensheviks opposed 
Social-Democratic participation in a provisional revolutionary govern- 
ment. They regarded participation in such a government as something 
very like betrayal of the working class. Lenin, on the contrary, 
considered such participation not only possible, but-in favourable 
conditions-necessary, as it would land the government the will and 
the resolution to put into effect all the democratic demands of the 
worker and peasant masses, to carry the revolution to completion. 

One of Lenin's great accomplishments was his theory of development 
of bourgeois-democratic revolution into socialist revolution, based on 
Marx's well-known thesis concerning uninterrupted revolution and the 
combination of proletarian revolution and peasant war. Approaching 
Marxism creatively, Lenin developed this thesis as dictated by the new 
historical conditions, and advanced strategic slogans defining the tasks 
of the first and the second stages of the revolution. 

"The proletariat must carry the democratic revolution to completion, 
allying to itselt the mass of the peasantry in order to crush the 
autocracy's resistance by force and paralyse the bourgeoisie's 
instability. The proletariat must accomplish the socialist revolution, 
allying to itselt the mass of the semi-proletarian elements of the 
population, so as to crush the bourgeoisie's resistance by force and 
Paralyse the instability of the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie."** 

At this time Lenin's theory of socialist revolution already included 
such vital theses as those concerning hegemony of the proletariat in 
revolution; alliance of the working class and the peasantry; the leading 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 9, p. 39. 
** Ibid,, p. 100. 

r m 

and directing role to be played by a party of a new type; the develop- 
ment of bourgeois-democratic revolution into socialist revolution, and 
the manner of this development. Later, in 1915, these fundamental 
theses, together with his discovery of the law of uneven economic and 
political development of capitalism in the age of imperialism, were to 
lead Lenin to his brilliant conclusion that socialism might triumph, 
first in some one capitalist country. Lenin contributed to Marxism a 
new theory concerning socialist revolution, a theory of world-wide 

The ideas set forth in Lenin's Two Tactics retain to this day their 
political and theoretical importance to all the peoples o£ the world in 
the struggle for democracy and socialism. 

Two Tactics, appearing on the upgrade of the revolution, \ 
enthusiastically received by the Party organisations in Russia. "We all 
felt," recalls V. Adoratsky, a member of the Kazan organisation, "that 
the advancement of the revolution could not have been more correct . 
more consistently, more brilliantly defended than by Vladimir Ilyich." 
S. Gusev, at that time Secretary of the Odessa Party Committee, wrote 
to Lenin, "To my mind, your pamphlet will be of tremendous, if not 
epoch-making, importance. Particularly splendid is the revolutionary 
spirit that imbues its every line, and its amazing clarity and simplicity." : 
The book was distributed throughout Russia. In the course of 1905 it 
was twice republished within Russia. 

The growth of revolution in Russia, The revolutionary struggle in 
Russia was steadily gaining momentum, the flame of revolution 
spreading the country over. The activity of the masses, led by the 
Bolsheviks, became more and more energetic, and more and more 
political in character. 

The course of revolutionary development bore out the strategy and 
tactics which Lenin had worked out for the Bolshevik Party. The 
revolution was history's first test of the vitality of Lenin's thesis on Ehe 
alliance of the working class and the peasantry, of his teaching on the 
hegemony of the proletariat in the bourgeois-democratic revolution. 

Lenin was leading the Party and the working class to armed uprising 
against the autocracy. "We will rise up in arms to overthrow the 
tsarist government and win freedom for the entire people. To ai I 
workers and peasants I"***-he wrote in a May Day leaflet. 

A major advance in the development of the revolutionary movement 
against the autocracy was the mutiny on the battleship Potemkin, which 
set off a series of revolts in the armed forces. This mutiny, Lenin wrote, 
signified the open transition of a part of the army to the side of ttifi 
revolution. It was of tremendous importance as the first attempt to 
form the nucleus of a revolutionary army. 

* Reminiscences of Lenin, Russ. cd., 1956, Part 1, v. 268. 
** Proletarskaya Revolutsia No. 12 (47), 1925, p. 41. 
'** V. t, Lenin. Collected Works, Vol. 8, p. 349. 


To assist the insurgent battleship, Lenin sent M. Vasilyev-Yuzhin to 
Odessa. '"Try at all costs to get on the ship/ he said, 'and urge the 
crew to swift and resolute action, to an immediate landing. If necessary, 
don't hesitate to shell the government institutions. We must capture the 
city. Then, arm the workers immediately and launch the strongest 
agitation among the peasants. Muster all available forces of the Odessa 
organisation for this work. By leaflets and by word of mouth, call on 
the peasants to seize the landed estates and to unite with the workers 
for joint struggle. I attach immense, exceptional importance to the 

alliance of workers and peasants in the struggle that has begun 

Further, every effort must be made to capture the rest of the fleet. I 
am confident that most of the ships will join the Potemkin. But action 
must be resolute, swift and fearless. When that is done, send a torpedo 
boat for me immediately. I shall leave for Rumania/ 

"'Do you seriously believe all this is possible?' asked Vasilyev- 

" 'Of course I do/ Lenin confidently replied. 'Only we must act 
swiftly and resolutely. But, of course, not without account of the actual 

Unfortunately, by the time Vasilyev-Yuzhin reached Ode ssa the 
Potemkin had already left port. The mutiny ended in defeat. One of its 
leaders, the sailor Matyushenko, visited Lenin in Geneva and described 
to him in full detail the heroic struggle waged by the crew of the 
revolutionary battleship. 

Preparing the working class for armed uprising, Lenin urged upon 
the Party organisations the need for serious study of the military art, 
and for the formation of hundreds and thousands of fighting squads. 
He attached particular importance to the formation of armed detach- 
ments in the big cities and their working-class suburbs. He stressed the 
necessity of organising these detachments, of arming them with 
whatever came to hand, of teaching and training them. In a letter written 
in October 1905 to the Combat Committee of the St. Petersburg 
RS.D.L.P. Committee, he outlined ways and means of preparation for 
armed uprising. On his instructions, military groups were formed in 
the local Party organisations to arrange for the acquirement and 
manufacture of weapons. The Bolsheviks launched extensive propaganda 
and agitation among the soldiers and sailors, and began to issue 
newspapers for the troops. There were more than twenty of these, of 
which the best known, Kazarma (Barracks), receiving direct guidance 
from Lenin, had a circulation of some 20,000 copies. 

Lenin foresaw the manoeuvres to which the tsarist government might 
r esort against the rising revolution. When, in an effort to stem the 
counting tide of revolution, the tsar in August 1905 promised to 
convene a deliberative Duma and instructed Minister Bulygin to draft 
Section regulations, Lenin saw through this subterfuge and called for 

* Reminiscences of Lenin, Russ. ed., 1956, Part 1, pp, 291-92, 


a resolute boycott of the Duma. The Bulygin Duma, he declared, was 
no more than a bait, designed to divert the people from revolution. Th. 
proletariat of Russia thwarted the farce of the Bulygin Duma. 

By the autumn of 1905 the revolutionary movement in Russia had 
attained unexampled power. The political strike called in October 
spread throughout the country, involving over two million people, of 
whom nearly a million were industrial workers. The strike slogans were, 
"Down with the autocracy!", "Long live the democratic republic!" 

Lenin described the closing months of 1905 as a period of 
revolutionary whirlwind. In his article "The All-Russian Political 
Strike", written at the height of events, he declared: "We are witnesses 
of thrilling scenes of one of the greatest of civil wars, wars for liberty, 
mankind has ever experienced."* The All-Russian strike was growing 
into armed uprising. In October, as Lenin wrote elatedly, "the nation- 
wide strike . . . reached its climax. The mighty arm of the proletariat, 
which was raised in an outburst of heroic solidarity all over Russia, 
brought the entire industrial, commercial and administrative life of the 
country to a standstill. It was the lull before the storm."** 

The general political strike was a new form of proletarian struggle, 
unprecedented either in Russia or abroad. The peasant movement, too, 
spread as never before, embracing over one-third of all uyezds. The 
working people of all the nationalities inhabiting Russia were inspired 
by the revolutionary example of the Russian people. In the Ukraine, 
Byelorussia, Poland, the Baltic provinces, the Transcaucasia, Central 
Asia and other border areas of tsarist Russia, the working people waged 
a heroic struggle against the autocracy and the landowners. The Russian 
proletariat, led by the Bolsheviks, wholeheartedly supported the 
national liberation movement of the peoples of the Russian empire. 

Alarmed by the growth of the forces of revolution, the tsar on 
October 17 issued a Manifesto promising "civil liberties" and a 
"legislative" Duma. This, too, Lenin had foreseen, predicting that, to 
stifle the revolution, the tsar would consent to a curtailed constitution. 
Now, noting this first victory gained by the revolutionary proletariat, 
Lenin wrote that the next step must be to expand the revolution; that 
the working class, carrying with it the peasantry, must launch a new, 
more powerful onslaught on the enemy and "sweep the throne of the 
bloodthirsty tsar from the face of the earth". 

In the course of the general strike the proletariat in Russia set up 
the world's first mass proletarian political organisations, the Soviets of 
Workers' Deputies. Originally founded to lead the strike struggle, 
many of these Soviets became organs of the revolutionary movement 
as a whole. The Soviets, Lenin wrote, grew on soil tilled by political 
strike and fertilised with the blood of fighters for freedom. During 
October and November 1905 Soviets were set up in many towns a] - [ 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 9, p. 392. 
** Ibid,, pp. 427-28. 


working-class centres. As events developed and the strike struggle grew 
into uprising, the Soviets became organs of the armed struggle of the 
masses, the embryo of a new, revolutionary state authority. In later 
years, in his treatment of the form to be assumed by the government 
of the dictatorship of the proletariat, Lenin was to base his conclusions 
n the experience gained in the revolution of 1905-07 and on the work 
o£ these first Soviets. 

Lenin's first appraisal of the Soviets as organs of revolt and as the 
embryo of a new, revolutionary authority was set forth in his 
programme article "Our Tasks and the Soviet of Workers' Deputies 
(A Letter to the Editor)", written in early November 1905 in Stock- 
holm, where he had stopped off on his way to Russia. Lenin regarded 
the St. Petersburg Soviet as the embryo of an all-Russian political 
centre, deeply rooted in the people and enjoying the confidence and 
support of the broad masses. The Soviet of Workers' Deputies, he 
wrote, should strive to include deputies from all factory and office 
workers, domestic servants, farm labourers, etc., from all who wanted 
and were able to fight for a better life for the working people. 

He emphasised the necessity of turning the Soviet of Workers' 
Deputies into a provisional revolutionary government whose 
programme would include "the complete realisation of political 
freedom . . . the convocation of a national constituent assembly that 
would enjoy the support of a free and armed people and have full 
authority and strength to establish a new order in Russia".* 

The article "Our Tasks and the Soviet of Workers' Deputies" was 
written for the legal newspaper Nouaya Zhizn {New Lite), published in 
St. Petersburg. It did not appear in this paper, however, and the 
manuscript was found only in 1940. 

In revolutionary Russia. Lenin longed to return home. He passionately 
dreamed of the time when he would be able to speak not from the 
"hateful 'abroad' of an exile", "not from the cursed remoteness of 
Geneva, but at meetings of thousands of workers in the streets of 
Moscow and St. Petersburg, at the free village meetings of the Russian 
'muzhiks'".** At the height of the general strike he enthusiastically 
wrote: "It's a fine revolution we're having in Russia, take my word for 
it! We hope to be returning soon. Matters are shaping that way with 
astonishing speed."*** 

Lenin arrived in St. Petersburg on November 8, 1905, and immediately 
launched vigorous revolutionary activity, directing the work of the 
Central and St. Petersburg Bolshevik committees, addressing meetings 
and conferences in St. Petersburg and in Moscow, conferring with Party 
functionaries, writing articles for the Bolshevik press. Under his 
leadership, the Bolsheviks carried on energetic preparations for armed 

* v - 1- Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 10, pp. 24-25. 
** Ibid., Vol, 8, p. 2SS. 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. cd.. Vol. 34. p. 311. 


On his first day in St, Petersburg Lenin met L. Krasin, a member of 
the C.C., and other Party functionaries at a secret Bolshevik meeting 
place. On the same day he visited the Prcobrazhcnsky Cemetery, where 
the victims of "Bloody Sunday" lay buried, to bow his head in grief 
over the graves of the St. Petersburg proletarians. Lenin's heart beat 
high with love for the working people. The people's suffering and grief 
were his suffering and grief; the people's struggle for freedom and 
happiness was his struggle. 

In the evening, at an enlarged meeting of the St. Petersburg Bolshevik 
Committee, Lenin defined the tasks of the Party with respect to the 
Soviets-a question on which, at that time, not all members of the Party 
were quite clear in their minds. Lenin put the question very clearly. 
The Party, he said, must guide the Soviets, direct their activity; but it 
must not substitute itself for them, nor dissolve itself in them. As 
M. Essen recalls, Lenin "gave us a piece of his mind for having allowed 
the Mensheviks to gain leadership in the Soviet of Workers' Deputies. 
With the arrival of Lenin our fight for the Soviets intensified".** 

On the following day, November 9, Lenin called a joint meeting or 
the Bolshevik members of the editorial board of the legal newspaper 
Novaya Zhizn and the local Party functionaries. He now headed the 
editorial board, and Novaya Zhizn became in effect the Central Organ 
of the R.S.D.L.P. Lenin enlisted as contributors some of the Party', 
6ncst writers, among them such outstanding Party publicists as 
M, Olminsky, V, Vorovsky, A. Lunacharsky, V. Bonch-Bruyevich. Maxim 
Gorky was an active contributor, and greatly helped the paper 
financially as well. Circulation rose almost to 80,000 copies. 

The paper's editorial offices on Nevsky Prospckt were used as a 
secret meeting place for Party comrades, and also as premises for 
meetings of the Central and the St. Petersburg committees. It was here 
that Lenin and Maxim Gorky first met. Recalling this occasion, 
M. Andreyeva, Gorky's wife, writes: "Lenin came out of one of the 
back rooms and strode quickly to meet Gorky. They shook hands 
lengthily, Lenin was in high spirits. Gorky, as always when embarras 
spoke in an even deeper bass than usual. Over and over, he repeated: 

"'So this is what you're like.... Fine, fine! I'm very glad, verv 

In the evening they met again, at a sitting of the Central Committee. 

Lenin went into every aspect of the work connected with the 
publication of Novaya Zhizn, and was a frequent visitor at the print- 
shop. He read every line to be printed in the paper, from important 
articles to the briefest of items. The main material, as a rule, was 
discussed at editorial conferences, which Lenin called regularly. His 
own articles, too, were read at these conferences, and-as always-he 
turned a ready ear to any suggestions or criticism that his comrades 

* Reference is to the St. Petersburg Soviet of Workers' Deputies. 
** Reminiscences ol Lenin, Russ. ed., 1956, Part % p. 257. 
*** Ibid., p. 324. 


had to offer. "Generally speaking," Lunacharsky writes, recalling their 
joint work on Novaya Zhizn, "Lenin was always strongly in favour of 
collective effort in the true sense of the term; that is, all of us putting 
our heads together to work a rough draft into a finished exposition."* 

As in the old Iskra, as in Vperyod and Proletary, Lenin was the heart 
and brain of Novaya Zhizn. Under his editorship the paper exerted 
tremendous influence on the life and work of the Party. Articles by 
Lenin appeared regularly on its pages. On November 10, it started 
publication of the article, "The Reorganisation of the Party", the first 
to come from Lenin's pen after his return from abroad. Impatient, as 
always, of dogmatism and stereotype, Lenin made it clear that in this 
new, revolutionary period it would be mistaken for the Party to confine 
itself to its old methods of work. He called for a radical reorganisation 
of the Party's work, taking full advantage of the possibilities for open, 
legal activity that had been gained by the general political strike of 
October 1905. The Party, he wrote, should recruit new members more 
freely, particularly among the workers; the elective principle should 
be introduced in setting up Party organs; and, while the underground 
Party apparatus must be preserved, legal and semi-legal Party organs 
and affiliated organisations should be built up. 

The new conditions of Party work, in which the difference between 
the illegal and the legal press was beginning to disappear, brought 
sharply forward the question of Party literature. In this connection 
Lenin wrote his famous article, "Party Organisation and Party 
Literature", which appeared in Novaya Zhizn on November 13. The 
importance of this article cannot be overestimated. It advanced and 
substantiated the principle of the Party spirit in literature, subsequently 
to become a guiding principle for all progressive writing. Literature, 
Lenin wrote, "must become Party literature. In contradistinction to 
bourgeois customs, to the profit-making, commercialised bourgeois 
press, to bourgeois literary carcerism and individualism, 'aristocratic 
anarchism' and drive for profit, the socialist proletariat must put 
forward the principle of Party literature, must develop this principle 
and put it into practice as fully and completely as possible/'** 

To the socialist proletariat, Lenin wrote, literature cannot be a means 
of enriching individual groups or persons, cannot be a private affair, 
^dependent of the common cause of the working class. It must become 
a part of the common proletarian cause, inseparable from the Party's 
organised, planned work. To be sure, Lenin explained, literature is 
le ast of all subject to mechanical adjustment or levelling; here greater 
scope must undoubtedly be allowed to personal initiative and individual 
inclinations, to thought and fantasy, form and content. This, however, 
d °es not refute the proposition that literature must by all means and 
necessarily be firmly linked with Party work. 

* Reminiscences oi Lenin, Russ. ed., 1956, Part 1, p. 309. 
^ V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 10, p. 45. 

Lenin exposed the servitors of capital who hypocritically lauded 
"freedom of the press" in bourgeois society. He showed that this 
notorious freedom is no more than a bourgeois or anarchistic phrase. 
The so-called freedom of the writer, artist, or actor in capitalist society 
is simply masked dependence on the money-bags, on bribery. To this 
hypocritically free literature, m reality linked to the bourgeoisie, the 
socialists oppose a really free literature, openly linked to the proletariat. 
"It will be a free literature, because the idea of socialism and sympathy 
with the working people, and not greed or careerism, will bring ever 
new forces to its ranks. It will be a free literature, because it will Serve, 
not some satiated heroine, not the bored 'upper ten thousand' suffering 
from fatty degeneration, but the millions and tens of millions of 
working people-the flower of the country, its strength and its future." : 
In all, thirteen articles by Lenin appeared in Novaya Zhizti. The 
paper existed a little over a month. It was suppressed by the tsarist 
government on December 2. On December 3, its last, 28th issue; 
appeared illegally. But the Party could not work without a newspaper. 
Beginning with the spring of 1906 the Bolsheviks began to put out, in 
place of Novaya Zhizn, a new legal paper of which Lenin was factually 
the editor. The new paper appeared under various names: Volna (Wave), 
Vperyod {Forward), Ekho {Echo). In July it too was suppressed. 

In mid-November 1905, Lenin delivered a report, "A Criticism of the 
Agrarian Programme of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party", at a meeting 
of St. Petersburg Party functionaries held on the premises of the Free 
Economic Society. This was Lenin's first opportunity to address so 
large an audience within Russia. The hall was filled to capacity, and 
Lenin's appearance on the platform was met with a thunder of applause. 
But his report was interrupted by the police, and was completed only 
several days later, in a privately owned school-house. 

Lenin directed the work of the Bolshevik group in the St. Petersburg 
Soviet of Workers' Deputies. Shortly after his return from abroad he 
addressed a meeting of the Soviet discussing measures to combat the 
lock-out organised by the capitalists in answer to the workers' revolu- 
tionary introduction of the eight-hour working day in the St. Petersburg 
factories. Lenin's speech evoked an ovation, and the resolution he 
proposed was adopted with applause and cries of enthusiasm. Leaving 
the hall after this meeting, the workers said of Lenin: "He knows what 
to do. He knows how to lead the working class." 

A development of great importance to the further activities of ths 
Bolshevik organisations was the first Bolshevik conference, held in 
Tammerfors, Finland, in mid-December 1905. 

Lenin was elected chairman of the conference. He delivered WSS 
reports: on the current situation and on the agrarian question. The 
conference passed resolutions moved by Lenin, on the reorganisation 
of the Party and on the agrarian question. A number of amendments. 

• V, I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 10, pp. 48-49. 


necessitated by the development of the revolution, were introduced into 
the Party's agrarian programme, and a decision was taken on the 
restoration of Party unity. The Central Committee was instructed to 
convene a unity congress of the R.S.D.L.P. 

The armed uprising in Moscow. In mid-November V. Shantser, 
Secretary of the Moscow Committee and standing C.C. representative 
in the Moscow organisation, and M. Lyadov, a member of the Moscow 
Soviet, went to St. Petersburg on the instructions of the Moscow 
Committee to establish contact with the C.C. and with Lenin personally. 
This meeting of representatives of the Moscow Bolsheviks with Lenin 
was to exert tremendous influence on the entire subsequent activity of 
the Moscow Party Committee and also of the Moscow Soviet, which 
was under Bolshevik leadership. Lenin gave the Moscow comrades clear 
directions. He considered that, first and foremost, it was necessary, 
over the heads of the Menshcviks, to unite the workers. As Lyadov 
recalls it, Lenin said: "In Moscow the Soviet puts into effect whatever 
the M.C. decides; through the Soviet the Moscow Committee reaches 
and influences the non-Party working masses. Here in St. Petersburg, 
the Soviet trails behind the non-Par ty masses, doing everything possible 
to discredit the very idea of armed uprising. For you, it will be easy 
to carry the workers with you and to set up a real, militant Bolshevik 
organisation that will be respected by all the workers." 

On December 5, a conference of the Moscow Bolsheviks unanimously 
resolved to declare a general strike and commence armed struggle. On 
December 7, barricade fighting began between the Moscow workers and 
the tsarist troops. The chief centres of the armed uprising were in the 
Presnya, Zamoskvorechye and Rogozhsko-Simonovsky districts of the 
city. Almost a thousand barricades were put up in the city streets. In 
the Presnya district, the fighting was particularly determined. For nine 
days the Moscow workers battled heroically, with arms in hand. 

At several conferences, attended by Lenin, the St. Petersburg 
Bolsheviks discussed ways and means of assisting the Moscow workers. 
One of these conferences outlined measures to prevent the dispatch of 
troops from St. Petersburg to Moscow. It was decided to blow up the 
nt? S ' thereb y folding up the troop trains; to seize the arms depot at 
Okhta, with the help of revolutionary-minded soldiers from the railway 
battalion and the sappers, and to arm the workers. But all attempts to 
Prevent the dispatch of troops to Moscow failed. The government 
succeeded in sending off the Semyonov Regiment and also a number of 
other regiments, with orders to suppress the Moscow uprising. 

At a meeting of the C.C. held in St. Petersburg on the evening of 
December 17, M. Lyadov, just arrived from Moscow, delivered a 
detailed report on the situation there. On Lenin's proposal, the C.C. 
instructed the Moscow Committee to call an organised halt to the 
^med struggle. The C.C. declared unsatisfactory the work of the 
military organisation of the St. Petersburg Committee, which had failed 
render assistance to the Moscow workers. 


In January 1906, Lenin visited Moscow and attended a meeting of the 
Moscow Committee's Lecture Bureau at which the experience of the 
December armed uprising was discussed. Lenin spoke highly of the 
heroism and courage evinced by the Moscow workers, and took the 
keenest interest in every aspect of their struggle. I. Skvortsov-Stepanov 
rccalls that Lenin "showed an avid interest ... in everything connected 
with the Moscow uprising. I can still sec his glowing eyes, and the 
smile of pleasure that lit his face when I told him that nobody in 
Moscow was despondent-least of all the workers; that, on the contrary, 

spirit was high Vladimir Ilyich made me do all the talking. He spoke 

very little himself, except to demand more and still more facts."* 

The armed uprising of the Moscow workers was defeated; but its 
significance was tremendous. Years later, Lenin was to write: "Before 
the armed uprising of December 1905, the people of Russia were 
incapable of waging a mass armed struggle against their exploiter.-.. 
After December they were no longer the same people. They had been 
reborn. They had received their baptism of fire. They had been steeled 

in revolt. They trained the fighters who were victorious in 1917 "** 

The heroism of the Moscow workers, Lenin wrote, set an example qf 
struggle for all the labouring masses of Russia. Their fight was not 
fought in vain. This first breach in the tsarist monarchy slowly but 
steadily widened, weakening the old medieval order. For the first time 
in history the revolutionary struggle had attained such development 
such power, that armed uprising was conjoined with mass strike action. 

After the Moscow events revolts flared up, in December 1905 and 
January 1906, in other parts of the country as well: in Nizhny Novgorod, 
Rostov-on-Don, Novorossiisk, the Donbas, Yekaterinoslav, Motovilikha, 
Ufa, Krasnoyarsk, Chita. Armed uprisings on a large scale began in 
Transcaucasia, Poland, Finland and the Baltic provinces. But all thes^ 
scattered risings were brutally suppressed. 

When the December armed uprising was defeated, the Menshc^ 
declared that the strike had been inopportune and should not have 
been started; that the forces of the proletariat as they-the Mensheviks- 
had foreseen, had proved inadequate for victory. The proletariat, 
Plekhanov declared, "should not have taken to arms". Lenin indignantly 
denounced this apostasy of the Mensheviks. "On the contrary," he 
declared, "we should have taken to arms more resolutely, energetically 
and aggressively." In his article "Lessons of the Moscow Uprising" 
Lenin analysed the causes of defeat and outlined basic tactics by which 
the Party and the proletariat should be guided in preparation or armed 
uprising and in its conduct. First, arms must be taken up more resolute- 
ly, and it must be explained to the masses that a peaceful strike alone 
was not sufficient; that armed struggle was necessary. Second, an active 
fight must be waged for the troops, to win over wavering units. Third, 

* Lemngradskaya Prouda No. 17, January 21. 1926. 
** V. I. Lenin. Collected Works, Vol. 28, p. 373. 


offensive tactics must be pursued. Citing the well-known statement of 
Marx and Engels that insurrection must be treated as an art, Lenin 
developed this idea in connection with the new situation, the new con- 
ditions in which the proletarian struggle now found itself. Fourth, Lenin 
pointed out, the participation of the rural population in the common 
struggle must be ensured. 

Against the Cadets. Throughout the revolution the Bolsheviks, led by 
Lenin, waged an implacable struggle against the Cadets (Constitutional 
Democrats) -the party of compromise with tsarism. Lenin unmasked the 
Cadets, with their call for petty reforms to "pacify" the people. Ke 
exposed the duplicity and cowardice of these counter-revolutionaries, 
their false talk of democracy. 

"The proletariat is fighting, the bourgeoisie is stealing its way into 
power. The proletariat is shattering the autocracy by its struggle; the 
bourgeoisie clutches at the sops thrown to it by the enfeebled autocracy. 
Before the whole people the proletariat holds on high the standard of 
struggle; the bourgeoisie raises the flag of minor concessions, deals and 
haggling"*-such was Lenin's appraisal of the revolutionary line of the 
proletariat and the self-seeking of the liberal bourgeoisie. 

In his pamphlet The Victory ot the Cadets and the Tasks oi the 
Workers' Party (March 1906) Lenin referred to the Cadets as the 
"worms in the grave of the revolution". He showed that the Cadets were 
opposed to armed uprising; that they regarded the Duma as a sort of 
plaster to draw the attention of the people away from revolution; that 
their tactics would inevitably boil down to manoeuvring between the 
autocracy and the revolutionary people. Essentially, the Cadets' tactics 
consisted in the effort to utilise the popular struggle in their own ends, 
despite their fear of revolutionary popular action. More than anything 
else, they feared the hegemony of the proletariat in the revolution. To 
the best of their ability, they vilified revolution and extolled and 
glorified tranquil social development-the "dray-horse" way, as Lenin 
so aptly termed it; the way that did not wipe out the survivals of serf- 
dom. "When human history rushes forward with the speed of a locomo- 
tive, he calls it a whirlwind', a 'torrent', the 'vanishing' of all 'principles 
and ideas'. When history plods along at dray-horse pace, the very symbol 
ot it becomes reason and method" **-such was the point of view of the 

The objective conditions in which the Russian revolution found itself 
at that time called for a determined class struggle for democratic 
^oerhes, combining both Duma and extra-Duma activity. The parlia- 
mentary activity of the workers' party was bound up with all other 
aspects of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat. The parliamen- 
tary game played with such gusto by the bourgeois politicians was 
^rned on behind the backs of the people. At such a time, Lenin warned, 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 11, p. 28. 
Ibid., Vol. 10. pp. 252-53. 


there could be nothing more harmful, more dangerous, than constitution- 
al illusions, which were no more and no less than opportunist, 
bourgeois poison that the Cadet press was injecting into the people's 
minds. It was the task of the proletarian party to combat these illusions, 
systematically explaining to the workers and the peasants that, as before, 
the principal form of the social movement was the direct revolutionary 
struggle of the broad masses. Further, Lenin exposed the attitude of 
the Menshcviks, who dragged in the wake of the liberal-monarchist 

In this pamphlet Lenin summarised the experience gained by the 
Russian proletariat in the struggle of October-December 1905-a struggle 
which he regarded as an important advance in the cause of the working 
class the world over. The events of 1905 confirmed a basic proposition 
of Marxism: that the only thoroughly revolutionary class in contempo- 
rary society, and therefore the vanguard fighter in any revolution, is 
the proletariat. In the October-December fighting the working class had 
employed tactics proposed in a resolution adopted by the Third Pariy 
Congress, which had stressed the importance of combining mass politic:,! 
strikes with insurrection. Lenin wrote highly of the creative role of the 
people in the revolution, expressed in the conquest of political freedom 
by arbitrary seizure; in the establishment of new, self-constituted organs 
of revolutionary authority, not envisaged by tsarist law and defying this 
law; in the use of violence by the people to counter violence against the 

Lenin refuted the Mcnsheviks' opportunist view on the Soviets as 
"organs of self-government" and emphasised again the historic role of 
the Soviets as the embryo of dictatorship of the revolutionary people, 
of the vast majority over the minority. He enriched the idea of hege- 
mony of the proletariat with new content, based on the experience 
gained in the revolution. 

Preparations for the Fourth (Unity) Congress of the R.S.D.L.P, At 
the Congress. The development of the revolution brought once more 
the forefront the urgent need for a Party Congress. The worker Social 
Democrats were demanding Party unity. Lenin and the Bolsheviks, 
supporting this demand, at the same time held that unity with the 
Mcnsheviks was possible only on the ideological and organisational 
basis of revolutionary Marxism. In letters to the Central Committee 
written in August-October 1905 Lenin pointed out that, preparing for 
unity with the Menshcviks, the Bolsheviks must put forward clear-cut 
ideas on Rules and tactics, on which they must take a firm stand. In 
the desire for unity, he insisted, the Bolsheviks must not gloss ovfif 
fundamental differences on questions of revolution, It was in this spirit 
that the Bolsheviks, seeking Party unity, proposed to the Mcnsheviks 
that a joint Congress be called. 

In the form of a series of draft resolutions, Lenin mapped out the 
Bolshevik tactical platform to be submitted to the Congress. Lenin made 
a special trip to Moscow, in early March 1906, to lead discussion oi this 


platform at a number of Bolshevik conferences and to report to an 
enlarged meeting of the Moscow Committee on the questions to be 
settled at the Party Congress. 

On his return from Moscow Lenin organised a similar conference of 
the St. Petersburg Bolsheviks. After discussion of the platform, this 
conference elected Lenin to a committee set up to edit the final text; 
and shortly afterwards the "Tactical Platform for the Unity Congress of 
the R.S.D.L.P." was published in the newspaper Partiiniye lzuestia 
{Party News). All but one of the resolutions entering into the platform 
were written by Lenin, 

In the preparations for the Fourth Congress Lenin devoted much 
attention to the agrarian question, participating in the work of a 
committee set up by the United C.C. R.S.D.L.P. to draft an agrarian 
programme for submission to the Congress. In a pamphlet entitled 
Revision oi the Agrarian Programme oi the Workers Party, written in 
the latter half of March, he formulated the basic principles of the report 
on the agrarian question which he was to deliver at the Congress, and 
traced the historical development of Russian Social-Democracy's views 
on this question. 

During March and early April the tactical platforms of the Bolsheviks 
and the Mcnsheviks were widely discussed in the Party, Lenin addressed 
several of the numerous discussion meetings held in St. Petersburg. 

Early in April Lenin left for Stockholm, where the Fourth (Unity) 
Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. was to meet. The Congress was held April io 
to 25 (April 23 to May 8), 1906. in the Stockholm People's House, 
placed at the disposal of the delegates by the Swedish Social-Democrats. 
Lenin was elected to the presidium of the Congress, and served as 
chairman at several of its sittings. The principal questions discussed 
were the agrarian programme, the current situation and the tasks of 
the proletariat as a class, and the Party's attitude towards the State 

The Congress was marked by bitter struggle between the Bolsheviks 
and the Mcnsheviks. Heated debate arose over the agrarian question. 
The text of Lenin's report to the Congress on this question, 
unfortunately, has not been found, and only his concluding remarks arc 
at present available. Lenin and the Bolsheviks upheld at the Congress 
a programme of nationalisation of the land. The Bolshevik agrarian 
Programme called uncompromisingly for the overthrow of the autocracy; 
jt called on the peasants to rise in revolution against the tsar and the 
landowners. Speaking in defence of nationalisation, Lenin brought out 
tft e significance of the peasant committees, whose establishment he 
Regarded as a call to the people, oppressed by the survivals of serfdom 
wfu u P ° licC re 9 ime ' immediately and most resolutely to do away 
^cialf 56 SUI " VivaIs and rid tllcmselves of landowners and government 

re Le i nin em P iiasiscci the indissoluble connection between agrarian 
volution and political revolution, declaring at the Congress: "We must 


plainly and definitely say to the peasants: if you want to carry the 
agrarian revolution to the end, you must also carry the politic;:: 
revolution to the end; for unless the political revolution is carried to 
the end there will be no durable agrarian revolution, and perhaps none- 
at all."* 

In his concluding remarks on the agrarian programme Lenin forceful^ 
criticised the objections to nationalisation of the land raised by Plekha- 
nov, JVlaslov and other Mensheviks, who at the Congress advocated a 
programme of municipalisation, that is, putting the landed estates into 
the hands of the local self-government bodies or Zemstvos (municipali- 
ties). The Menshevik programme o£ municipalisation was based c i 
expectation of a revolution that would go only half-way; on the idea of 
a gradual, peaceful reform of the landowner-autocratic system. It 
represented a deal with the landowners. Taking issue with the 
Mensheviks, Lenin advanced two basic arguments: first, that iK 
peasants themselves would never agree to municipalisation; and second, 
that without a democratic republic, without the fully guaranteed 
sovereignty of the people and without electiveness of government 
officials, municipalisation would be harmful. 

Further, Lenin criticised as mistaken and inadequate the point of view 
advocated by S. Suvorov {Borisov), J. Stalin, V. Bazarov-Rudnev and a 
number of other delegates, who called for division of the confiscated 
landed estates among the peasantry as their private property. The 
supporters of this demand failed to take it into account that the 
bourgeois-democratic revolution could develop into a socialist 
They proceeded from the mistaken premise that there must be a lengthy 
interval between the bourgeois-democratic and the socialist revolutions. 
Later, criticising the programme of "division", Lenin explained that 
this programme was mistaken because its proponents regarded the 
peasant movement only in the light of the past and present, and gave 
no consideration to the future. "The advocates of division rightly 
understand what the peasants say about nationalisation, they righih 
rater pret what they say, but the point is that they do not know how 
to convert this correct interpretation into an instrument ior changing 
the world, into an instrument of progress. We are not suggesting 

we should impose nationalisation on the peasants instead of division 

What we are suggesting is that a socialist, in ruthlessly exposing the 
peasants' petty-bourgeois illusions about 'God's land', should be able 
to show them the road of progress."** 

Lenin made the report on the current situation and the class tasks of 
the proletariat, and a co-report on the question of policy in regard to 
the State Duma. He also spoke on the armed uprising and on questions 
of organisation. He was a member of the committee set up to draft the 
Rules of the R.S.D.L.P. The Congress adopted Lenin's formulation of 
the first clause of the Party Rules, dealing with Party membership, 

* V. L Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 10, p. 282. 
** Ibid., p. 345. 

which was so obviously right that the Mensheviks could no longer 
oppose it. 

In his speeches at the Congress Lenin criticised the opportunist tactics 
£ the Mensheviks, their negation of hegemony of the proletariat and 
o£ armed uprising, their idea of the tsarist Duma as a "centre of the 
revolutionary forces of the country". Ruthlessly, he exposed the sham 
democracy and the political vacillation of the Cadets. 

The Mensheviks, at this Congress, were in the majority; and this 
predetermined the Congress decisions. On the most vital questions it 
was the Menshevik resolutions that were adopted, including the 
programme of municipalisation of the land. The resolutions adopted 
in regard to armed uprising offered no clear appraisal of the experience 
of the October-December battles of 1905. 

Though the Bolshevik line was not accepted by the Congress, and 
the Mensheviks secured a majority on the Central Committee, Lenin 
never lost his confidence in eventual victory over the Mensheviks, in 
the inevitable triumph of revolutionary Marxism, revolutionary strategy 
and tactics. 

Feeling that the broad masses of the workers must be informed of 
the struggle that had taken place at the Unity Congress, Lenin wrote 
"An Appeal to the Party by Delegates to the Unity Congress Who 
Belonged to the Former 'Bolshevik' Group". This appeal, which was 
discussed and endorsed by a conference of the Bolshevik delegates, 
criticised the Menshevik resolutions adopted by the Congress and 
exposed the opportunist line of the Mensheviks, their renunciation of 
revolution. A thorough analysis of the work of the Unity Congress 
was presented in Lenin's pamphlet Report on the Unity Congress 
of the R.S.D.L.P. {A Letter to the St. Petersburg Workers), written 
in May and published in June 1906. Shortly after his return from 
Stockholm to St. Petersburg, Lenin delivered reports on the Congress 
to Party functionaries and to a number of district Social-Democratic 

In the summer of 1906, the revolutionary movement in Russia began 
a new upswing. There was a wave of political strikes; the peasant 
struggle against the landowners flared up again, and there were cases 
of unrest in army units. 

The E.C. of the St. Petersburg Committee of the R.S.D.L.P., in a 
resolution drafted by Lenin on July 16, delegated several Party members 
to Sveaborg (near Hclsingfors), where the situation was extremely acute 
and an outbreak might be expected at any moment. On July 17, the 
soldiers and sailors of the Sveaborg garrison mutinied. On July 19, 
Mutiny broke out in Kronstadt as well. Here the mutineers seized Fort 
'-onstantin and attempted to rouse the garrison and the crews of the 
ships in the harbour. On July 20, Lenin recommended to the Bolsheviks 
th ttle St ' Pctcrs ^ ur 9 Committee that a strike be called in support of 
he Sveaborg and Kronstadt risings. Both risings, however, were brutally 


At workers' meetings. Hiding from the police. To this day but little 
is known of Lenin's vast practical activity in the years of the first 
Russian revolution. His energy and capacity for work were astounding. 
He found time for everything: lectures for propagandists on the tasks 
of the proletariat in the revolutionary movement and on the agrarian 
programme of the Party; participation in meetings of the Vasilyevsky 
Ostrov District Committee of the Party, and visits to secret study-circles 
among the workers of the Putilov Plant, at which he discussed questions 
of tactics. He was a familiar figure at Party meetings and at workers' 
gatherings, at meetings of intellectuals and of students, at the quarters 
of the clerks' and accountants' trade union, the shop-assistants' union, 
etc. A large part of his speeches and reports at such gatherings was 
devoted to substantiation and defence of the Bolsheviks' Duma tactics, to 
exposure of the Mensheviks' policy, and to the agrarian question. 

Always eager for contact with the masses, Lenin missed no opportunity 
to meet and talk with working people. On May 9, 1906, he addressed 
an audience of three thousand, in their majority workers, gathered at 
the Panina People's House* in St. Petersburg. Before Lenin, this meeting 
had been addressed by the well-known Cadets Vodovozov and Ogorod- 
nikov and by representatives of other parties. The Cadets had tried to 
clear themselves of the charge that they were in collusion with the 
tsarist government, maintaining that there had been no agreement but 
merely talks of a private, informative nature. The last to take the floor 
was some unknown person introduced as Karpov. Karpov was Lenin. 

"Ilyich was terribly agitated," Krupskaya recalls. "He stood silent 
for about a minute, very pale. All the blood had flowed to his heart. 
You could sense at once that the speaker's agitation was communicating 
itself to the audience. Then all of a sudden a burst of hand-clapping 
swept through the hall-the Party comrades had recognised Ilyich." 

Lenin's speech, devoted to R.S.D.L.P. tactics in regard to the State 
Duma, made a tremendous impression on the audience. Lenin denounced 
the Cadets for seeking agreement with the autocracy behind the backs 
of the people. "According to Ogorodnikov there was no agreement, 
only talks. But what are talks? The beginning of agreement. And what 
is agreement? The end of talks," Lenin declared. 

"I well remember," recalls A, Schlichter, who was present at the 
meeting, "the surprise and amazement of all, positively all, at so simp \ 
so clear and precise a way of putting the issue. . . . 

"Lenin's animation on the platform; the remarkably, brilliantly simple 
way in which he would bring out the main points, the essence of a 
question; his gestures; his eyes, now twinkling with humour, now 
darkening in concentration; and, finally, his altogether extraordinary 

* People's houses were cultural and educational institutions in pre-revolution- 
ary Russia, maintained by philanthropic societies or by individual philanthropists. 
In 1905-07 the Bolsheviks made wide use of these people's houses for public 

N. K. Krupskaya, Reminiscences oi Lenin, Moscow, 1959, p. 149. 

ealth and range of intonation-all this held the audience spellbound, 
unable to tear their eyes from him/'* 

The meeting unanimously passed a resolution moved by Lenin, express- 
firm confidence that, as always, the proletariat would remain the 
leader of all revolutionary elements among the people. A tremendous 
wave of enthusiasm swept the audience after Lenin's speech. They 
rjoured out of the hall into the streets, carrying red flags and singing 
revolutionary songs. This meeting gave Lenin great satisfaction. In 
after years he recalled it with pleasure. 

During May-July 1906, Lenin addressed workers from the St. Gal 
subdistrict; representatives of the Vyborg District Party organisations; 
the Social-Democratic organisation of the Baltic Shipyards; a group of 
delegates of the All-Russia Teachers' Congress,- meetings of Social- 
Democratic workers of the Narva District; Party functionaries of the 
St. Petersburg R.S.D.L.P. organisation, etc. 

Lenin was particularly glad to address working-class audiences. And 
he never broke his word. Once he had promised to attend a meeting, 
he was sure to come, and to come on time. Early in July 1906, Lenin 
attended a meeting of women workers of the Shapshala Tobacco Fac- 
tory, and actively supported their decision to call a strike in answer to 
the refusal of the administration to meet their economic demands. For 
the workers of the Semyannikov subdistrict, Nevskaya Zastava District, 
he delivered a lecture on the subject of election agreements in the West 
and in Russia. On all problems arising in the revolutionary struggle, 
the St. Petersburg proletariat received advice and directions from Lenin. 
And these direct contacts with the workers served to strengthen his 
profound conviction that the leading force in the revolution was the 
proletariat, and that the creative possibilities of the working class were 

Lenin's vast activities in leadership of the Party and of the revolution- 
ary struggle of the working class were carried on under incredibly 
difficult conditions. To evade the police, he was compelled to be always 
on the move. At first, in St. Petersburg, he did not register at any 
domicile. When Nadezhda Krupskaya arrived from abroad, she and 
Lenin lived separately for several days. Later they moved into furnished 
rooms, where they registered under assumed names. Only a week passed, 
however, and Nadezhda Krupskaya was summoned to police head- 
quarters, her passport having aroused suspicion. A new move had to 
be made, and quickly. It was decided to attempt legal registration, in 
J-kc flat of an acquaintance of Lenin's sister Maria. But this refuge had to 
b e abandoned the very next day, for the police immediately set up a 
close watch over the house. 

Lenin had repeatedly to change passports. Only in the latter half of 
December 1905 was he able to settle down for some time, still illegally, 
true, but with a more or less reliable passport. But it was not long before 

* Reminiscences of Lenin, Russ. ed., 1956, Part 1, pp. 338, 339. 

the police traced him again, and again he had to seek new lodgings 
every night. In January 1906 Lenin visited Moscow. When he returned 
to St. Petersburg, he and his wife were obliged again to live in hiding. 
Lenin's meetings with members of the Central and St. Petersburg com- 
mittees, and with Party functionaries arriving from all parts of Russia, 
would be arranged in a dental surgery, at a storehouse, in the homes 
of acquaintances, etc. 

The tsarist secret police spared no effort in the attempt to lay hands 
on Lenin. On the appearance of his article "The Workers' Party and 
Its Tasks in the Present Situation", published in the legal Social- 
Democratic student paper Molodaya Rossiya (Young Russia), the Police 
Department took action to arrest Lenin. One evening towards the end 
of February Lenin spoke on work in the countryside at a meeting of 
Party functionaries held in the home of a St. Petersburg barrister. Leaving 
the house after the meeting, Lenin noticed that he was being followed, 
and decided not to go home. All through the night his wife sat at her 
window, waiting; but he did not come. Not without difficulty had he 
shaken off his pursuers and left for Finland. 

Towards the end of the summer of 1906 Lenin settled down at Vasa, 
a country-house in Kuokkala occupied by the Bolshevik G. Leitei>:en 
and his family. Situated in a secluded spot at the edge of a wood, Vasa 
was very convenient as a hiding-place. Lenin lived there, on and off, 
up to December 1907, making secret trips to St. Petersburg to di a 
the work of the C.C. and the St Petersburg Committee. 

Vasa became the Party's organisational centre, from which Lenin 
directed Party activities, and where he conducted Party and editorial 
board conferences and had talks with Party functionaries. There was 
such a constant stream of visitors that the doors were never locked. 
Among Lenin's visitors at Vasa were Ter-Petrosyan-thc fabulous Kamo*; 
Krasin, Vorovsky, Stasova, Bonch-Bruycvich; representatives from the 
Party organisations in Nizhny Novgorod, Ivanovo-Voznesensk and other 
towns, and workers from the Putilov and Sestroretsk factories. A special 
messenger from St. Petersburg brought Lenin the press and mail every 
day, and took back from him articles and other material. 

In connection with preparations for the first Bolshevik conference of 
fighting groups and military organisations of the R.S.D.L.P., Y. Yaro- 
slavsky, one of the initiators of the conference, came to see Lenin in 
Kuokkala. This was in November 1906. "Lenin," Yaroslavsky recalls, 
"was keenly interested in the military training school we had set up to 
teach our comrades how to make and how to handle explosive devices; 
to instruct them in the use of machine-guns and other types of arms, 
in the laying of mines, and in the tactics of street fighting-in a word, 
to train potential commanders to lead our fighting squads in the coming 
revolution. Vladimir Ilyich questioned me particularly closely about 

* Kamo- pseudonym oi the Bolshevik Ter-Petrosyan, a professional revolu- 
tionary famed for his extraordinary resourcefulness in underground activities and 
for his daring escapes from prisons. 


our immediate plans. Fearing that we might plunge into some rash, 
unconsidered venture, he cautioned us to undertake nothing serious 
without the knowledge of the Bolshevik Centre."* 

In August 1906, the Bolsheviks began to publish an illegal newspaper 
named, as formerly, Proletary and edited by Lenin. For purposes of 
safety Proletary was set up in Vyborg (Finland) and brought to St. Peters- 
burg in matrix form, to be printed there. In early August Lenin and 
Krupskaya spent almost two weeks in Vyborg in this connection. 
Actually, Proletary was the Central Organ of the Bolsheviks. It existed 
more than three years, and in this period carried upwards of a hundred 
articles and notes by Lenin, almost half of them dated in the period of 
revolution-up to June 1907, 

During his stay at Vasa Lenin wrote a large number of articles, 
pamphlets and draft resolutions. He got through an incredible amount 
of work, and, as always, with remarkable speed. For all this pressure 
of work, however, he often found time to play with Leitcizcn's children, 
to share in their merriment. Before going to bed, he made it his rule to 
go out for a walk with Krupskaya, or perhaps with some visiting comrade. 

During the summer of 1906 part of Lenin's time was spent in the 
study of philosophy (not enough time, as he noted later, because he 
was occupied with the urgent work of the revolution). When A. Bog- 
danov sent him his Empirio-Monism (Book III), Lenin went thoroughly 
through it and arrived at the conclusion that Bogdanov's views were 
mistaken, and his approach non-Marxist 

"I thereupon wrote him a 'declaration of love'/' Lenin later recalled 
"a letter on philosophy taking up three notebooks. I explained to him 
that I was just an ordinary Marxist in philosophy, but that it was 
precisely his lucid, popular, and splendidly written works that had 
finally convinced me that he was essentially wrong and that Plekhanov 
was right. I showed these notebooks to some friends (including Luna- 
charsky) and thought of publishing them under the title 'Notes of an 
Ordinary Marxist on Philosophy', but I never got round to it. I am 
sorry now that I did not have them published at the moment." !: "* Unfor- 
tunately, this work of Lenin's has not been found. 

Observing the necessary precautions, Lenin made frequent trips to 
at Petersburg during this period, visiting the warehouse and editorial 
otnees of the Bolshevik publishing house-Vpcryod. As head of the 
editorial board, he directed all the work of the publishing house. He 
_pent whole evenings there, going over and correcting proofs/manuscripts 
and plans, or discussing various matters with the staff. He attended many 
^eetings of the St. Petersburg Party Committee held on the Vpervod 

h^ IeCt i? nS to the Second Duma were approaching, and the Bolsheviks 
«d to decide immediately on their election tactics. In the new situation. 

a * Reminiscences oi Lenin, Russ. cd., 1956. Part 1, p. 342. 
V. L Lenin. Collected Works, Vol. 13, p. 449. 


it was clear that wide use must be made of the Duma as a platform 
for revolutionary propaganda and public exposure of the policy of 
the autocracy and the bourgeoisie. In this connection Lenin and 
ether Bolsheviks kept it always in mind that the boycott of the First 
Duma had not justified itself. Coming at a time when the tide of 
revolution had begun to ebb, the boycott had turned out to be mistaken 

Lenin gave much thought to the question of the Party's tactics in 
regard to the Second Duma, and to the question of election agreements. 
At a series of Party conferences held between November 1906 and the 
elections to the Second Duma, which took place in February 1907, he 
spoke in vigorous defence of the Bolshevik tactics. Seeking complete 
independence for the working-class party in the election campaign, 
Bolsheviks advocated a Left bloc, that is, a working agreement with 
the parties which represented the democratic petty bourgeoisie o£ town 
and countryside and which opposed tsarism and the liberal bourgeoi ie. 
The basic task of revolutionary Social-Democracy, Lenin explained, lay 
in wresting the petty-bourgeois strata, and primarily the peasantry, away 
from the influence of the Cadets. He firmly opposed the Menshevik 
tactics of a bloc with the Cadets and support of the Cadets in the Duma, 
declaring agreement with the Cadets impermissible in principle and 
politically harmful. 

More and more, the Mensheviks were following in the lead of the 
Cadet bourgeoisie. Behind the backs of the workers, as Lenin showed 
in his writings of that period, the Mensheviks were negotiating with the 
Cadets, bargaining with them for seats in the Duma, at the same time 
attempting to cover up their intrigues with hypocritical rant. 

"Plekhanov . . ." Lenin wrote, "had the best of intentions: peace and 
good will with the Cadets against the Black-Hundred danger; but the 
outcome was an infamy and disgrace for the Social-Democrats." ' 

Thus exposed by Lenin, the Mensheviks fought back furiously against 
the Bolsheviks. The Menshevik C.C. actually summoned Lenin to stand! 
trial before a "Party tribunal" for his pamphlet The St. Petersl rg 
Elections and the Hypocrisy of the Thirty-One Mensheviks. The tribunal 
consisted of three Mensheviks, three supporters of Lenin, and three 
Presidium members appointed by the Central Committees of the Lettish 
and Polish Social-Democrats and of the Bund. The trial took place 
in March 1907. The tribunal held two sittings, at which it examined only 
three witnesses out of the several dozen listed. In his speech at the first 
sitting ("Speech for the Defence (or for the Prosecution of the Menshevik 
Section of the Central Committee}") delivered at the Mcnshevik-inspued 
Party Tribunal Lenin exposed the disruptive activities of the Mensheviks 
in the St. Petersburg Party organisation. 

The Duma campaign brought out with particular clarity the anti- 
rcvolutionary, compromising policy followed by the Menshevik C.C. 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 11. p. 407. 


^ majority of the Party organisations declared against this policy. The 
situation in the country and within the Party called urgently for a new 
Party Congress, and Lenin began active preparations in this direction, 
jn mid-February 1907, he drafted several resolutions for the Fifth Con- 
gress of the R.S.D.L.P. In March, he delivered a report on the current 
situation and the tasks of the Party at a meeting of instruction for 
Bolsheviks leaving for the provinces to conduct elections of delegates 
to the Congress. In April, a pamphlet by Lenin appeared, entitled 
Report to the Filth Congress oi the R.S.D.L.P. on the St. Petersburg 
Split and the Institution of the Party Tribunal Ensuing Thereirom, In 
April, too, Lenin was elected a delegate to the Fifth Congress from the 
Verkhnyaya Kama (Urals) Party organisation. 

Prior to the Fifth Congress, the Mensheviks proposed the convocation 
of what they termed a "workers' congress", representing various workers' 
organisations and designed, as they put it, to set up a "broad labour 
party" that would include Social-Democrats, Socialist-Revolutionaries 
and anarchists. Lenin vigorously opposed this Menshevik proposal, 
which was, in effect, an attempt to liquidate the truly proletarian party, 
to discard its revolutionary programme and tactics. 

Victory at the Fifth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. At the end of April 
Lenin left for Copenhagen, where the Fifth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. 
was scheduled to take place. Here he organised a conference of the 
Bolshevik delegates, and spoke at the conference on the question of 
fighting squads. Suddenly, however, the Danish police appeared and 
demanded that the delegates leave the country within twelve hours. The 
Congress had to be transferred to London. On the way there Lenin 
stopped off in Berlin, where he went sightseeing with Maxim Gorky and 
visited Karl Kautsky and Rosa Luxemburg. In London, the conference 
of Bolshevik delegates re-assembled and elected a bureau of the 
Bolshevik group at the Congress, headed by Lenin. 

Maxim Gorky was invited to the Fifth Congress as a delegate with 
deliberative vote. Knowing that Gorky had tuberculosis, Lenin was 
particularly solicitous for his comfort. He accompanied Gorky to his 
hotel, and expressed deep concern because the hotel room seemed to 
him rather damp. "For a long time after Lenin had left," writes 
M Andreyeva, "Gorky paced the floor of the cheerless room . . . twirling 
and biting the ends of his moustache, as was his habit. Finally he said 
slowly, half to himself: 'What a wonderful person!' "" 

T ^e Fifth (London) Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. opened on April 30 
(May 13), 1907. It met in the building of a Reformed Church on the 
outskirts of London. The Congress was attended by 336 delegates, 
^presenting 147,000 members of the Party. This time the Bolsheviks 
commanded a stable majority. They were supported, on all major 
Questions, by the Polish Social-Democrats and by a majority of the 
Lettish delegates. Lenin took a leading part in the Congress proceedings. 

* Reminiscences of Lenin, Russ. e&, 1956, Part 1, p. 325. 

He was elected to the Presidium, presided over seven sittings and 
delivered several reports and speeches. 

One of the chief items on the agenda was Lenin's report on the 
attitude to be adopted towards the bourgeois parties. This was one of 
the central differences dividing the R.S.D.L.P. into two camps-differences 
connected with the appraisal of the bourgeois revolution in Russia. 
When deciding what attitude should be adopted towards the bourgeois 
parties, Lenin explained, it was necessary first of all to define the class 
nature of the different parties. Next, it was necessary to make clear in 
what relation the interests of these classes stood to the continuation or 
development of the given revolution and the role of the various parties 
in the revolution, and to furnish practical directions concerning the 
policy of the workers' party on this question. 

Maxim Gorky, in his reminiscences, vividly describes Lenin's speech 
at the Congress. Lenin, Gorky wrote, "did not try to invent fine phrases. 
He set things forth word by word, revealing each in its precise meaning, 
and with amazing ease. It is very difficult to convey the unusual 
impression he made. 

"His arm outstretched and slightly raised, he seemed to weigh every 
word in his open palm, winnowing away his opponents' fine talk and 
replacing it with weighty arguments, demonstrating the right and the 
duty of the working class to take its own way rather than follow, or 
even accompany, the liberal bourgeoisie. All this was unaccustomed, 
and it was said not as though coming from him, Lenin, but as the dictate 
of history." * 

The Congress adopted a resolution, moved by Lenin, calling for 
relentless struggle against the parties of the Black Hundreds, the parties 
of the landowners and the big bourgeoisie, and for uncompromising 
exposure of the hypocritical democratic phraseology of the Cadets. As 
to the Trudoviks,** inasmuch as they voiced the interests and views of 
the peasant masses and the urban petty bourgeoisie, the Congress 
considered occasional agreements with them in the struggle against tsar- 
ism and the Cadets permissible. It pointed out the necessity of exposing 
the pseudo-socialist character of the Narodnik or Trudovik parties, at the 
same time explaining that every effort must be made to win them away 
from the influence and leadership of the bourgeois liberals. 

The policy of the Mensheviks, in effect denying the independence of 
the proletariat and accommodating itself to the liberal bourgeoisie, was 
defeated at the Congress. Lenin was later to note that "the London Con- 
gress's adoption of the Bolshevik resolution on non-proletarian parties 

* Reminiscences of Lenin, Russ. cd., 1956, Part 1, p. 370. 
** The Trudoviks, or Trudovik group, were a group of petty-bourgeois demo- 
crats, formed in April 1906 by peasant deputies to the First Duma. The Trudoviks 
demanded the transfer of the landed estates to the peasantry, the abolition of all 
restrictions based on social estate or on nationality, and the introduction of uni- 
versal suffrage. 


m eans that the workers' party decisively rejects all deviations from 
the class struggle, and recognises, in point f fact, the socialist criticism 
of non-proletarian parties and the independent revolutionary tasks of 
the proletariat m the present revolution. 

^rwffiotl^ MenShGVik amcndmcnts t0 adds 
At the Congress Lenin and the Bolsheviks fought to unite revolutionary 
Russian Social-Dcmocmcy on the Bolshevik platform, against the 
opportunism of the Mensheviks, the Bund and Trotsky. The Fifth 
(London Congress confirmed the Bolshevik line in the revolution, con- 
firmed the support of this line by the majority of the class-con cious 
workers or Russia. 

Between Congress sittings, Lenin spent much of his time in conver- 
sation with worker delegates Everything interested him. their living 
conditions, daily routine, the life of the working-class women "We f 
and the women?" he would ask. "Burdened with household ^dgeiy 2 

" 1^ man T ■ t0 „ gC S m StUdy ' rcadi ^ ? " His approach to 
people was so friendly, his questions so imbued with genuine affection 
and interest, that response was always frank and warm action 
In Hyde Park," Maxim Gorky tells us, "several workers who had no^ 
met Lenin before were sharing impressions of his activities at Se 
Congress. One of them remarked: at the 

T,17n M R y h the T rkC1 ' S hei '° in Eur °P G W ^meonc as clever as 
Lemn-Bebe , maybe, or some other. But I can't believe there's anothei- 
man on earth I d give my heart to from the first, like him/ 
Another worker added, with a smile: 
I 'He's one of us!' 

" 'So is Plckhanov/ somebody put in. 
"The reply was swift: 

andc P ufc'r^ C ' S °" r lCaChCr ' OUt ' fi " C gClU! — *** * our leader 

'^?T d if e y ° Un9 foIlow con dudcd. grinning: 

Tk rcL 10V ™' 1 foi ' 9et llc wears a frock-coat 
of the b c -dTTH elccted „ Leni " <7 ™mbcr of the Cental Committee 
Dubrovinl ^ % °r thCr - Bolsh cviks elected to tho C.C. were 

inrl, IT J ' u lasm , and Leit "zen. Further, the newly elected C C 
R« sit loch'/n 01 ' ° f Mcnsh cviks. and also representatives of he non- 

Sw£ th s^ W^"^" " 5 - TheS ° " 0t -^Qucntly vac£- 
spirit nf 7h» V, j - ?" re a consistent revolutionary line in tho 

£a of 'In ?'^ f C1SI0 " S ' th ° Bolsh oviks met separately at he 
After the m r SCt ?V ^° lshcvik Ccntl ' e - hca "cd by Len n 

Congas of he LctH^lo "n P*" attended the Second 

bedcHvLi l 7 L f ctll!>h Soca 1-Democrats-also held in London Here 
J^ehvcted a brief report on the tasks of the proletariat in the present 

.* Z' L -^"un- CottccU * Worts, Vol. 12. p. 500 

Reminiscences at Lenin. Ru ss . cd, 1950. Part 1. pp. :m-72. 


stage of the bourgeois revolution, and moved a draft resolution on this 

Alter the coup d'etat of June 3. On June 3, 1907, the tsarist govern- 
ment dissolved the Second Duma, an act which became known as the 
coup d'etat of June 3. The government launched a furious assault on the 
revolution. The members of thc Social-Democratic group in the Duma 
were arrested and exiled to Siberia; thousands of workers and peasants 
were shot by punitive expeditions; the prisons and places of exile and 
penal servitude were crowded to overflowing with revolutionaries. Thus 
began thc grim period of the Stolypin reaction, so called after the tsarist 
"lackey, Prime Minister Stolypin, hangman of freedom and of revolution. 
Particularly savage was the persecution of the Bolsheviks. On June 18. 
1907, the special department of thc St Petersburg gubernia gendarmerie 
instructed the chief of thc St. Petersburg secret police to submit all 
available material concerning Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin) and to 
"institute proceedings for his extradition from Finland". 

Lenin moved to a place called Styrsudd, in the Finnish interior. This 
was necessary not only to avoid discovery. Lenin's health was bad, and 
he needed a rest. 

But he did not rest long. In July, at a conference of the St. Petersburg 
organisation of the R.S.D.L.P. held in Tcrijoki, he delivered a report 
on the attitude to be adopted by the Social-Democratic Labour Party 
towards the Third State Duma; and in thc same month he participated 
in a conference of the R.S.D.L.P. held in Kotka to discuss question, of 
tactics in connection with thc dissolution of the Second Duma and the 
convocation of the Third. 

In August, Lenin went to Stuttgart, as a member of the delegation -in 
by the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. to the Congress of the 
Second International. This was the first international congiess in which 
Lenin had participated. As a member of the International Socialist 
Bureau- to which he had been appointed in October 1905 as 
representative from thc R.S.D.L.P.-he was elected to thc Presidium of 
thc Congress and also to the commission that drafted the resolution on 
militarism and international conflicts. 

The Stuttgart Congress was marked by sharp collision between the 
revolutionary and thc opportunist trends in international Social-Democ- 
racy. Lenin, who led the Bolshevik delegation, headed thc fight against 
the opportunist elements. The principal issue under discussion was the 
colonial question. The Dutch "socialist" Henry van Kol, who made the 
report on this question, tried to justify thc enslavement of the colonial 
peoples by the imperialists; he approved capitalism's "civilising mis- 
sion" in the colonies, and maintained that the Socialist parties should 
support thc colonial policy. The commission on the colonial question 
was so composed that the opportunist elements, headed by van Ko*< 
got the upper hand. Then thc question was submitted to the Congress- 
Heated debate arose. The majority of the German delegation, headed by 
Bernstein and David, voted for the opportunist resolution. Lenin came out 


vigorously against the revisionists, qualifying van Kol's position as "a 
decisive step towards subordinating the proletariat to bourgeois ideology, 
to bourgeois imperialism".* Lenin's struggle was successful. The Congress 
voted down thc opportunist resolution on thc colonial question. 

Lenin drew up and, jointly with Rosa Luxemburg, proposed to the 
Congress vital amendments to the resolution presented by A. Bebcl on 
militarism and international conflicts. One of these amendments declared 
that, should war break out, the working class and its representatives 
in the different parliaments must strive to utilise the crisis created by 
the war in the interests of socialist revolution. Lenin and his adherents, 
by their firm, uncompromising stand, succeeded in changing Bebel's 
resolution fundamentally, in the spirit o£ revolutionary Marxism. This 
was the first such resolution to be adopted in all the history of 
international Social-Democracy. 

During the Congress Lenin worked incessantly to unite the Left-wing 
forces in international Social-Democracy, and determinedly fought the 
opportunists and revisionists. With Bebel, Singer, Rosa Luxemburg, 
Jaures and others, he signed a message of greeting from the Congress 
to the American working-class leader William Haywood, who had been 
arrested by the American government on trumped-up charges. 

After the Congress Lenin returned to Kuokkala. Here, during August 
and September, he wrote two articles devoted to the Stuttgart Congress. 
One of these, written in popular form, was intended for the Bolshevik 
publication Kalendar dlya Vsekh, 1908 (Everyman Yearbook 1908) , 
In early September, Lenin spoke on the Stuttgart Congress at a conference 
of the St. Petersburg organisation of the R.S.D.L.P. held in Terijoki. 

Much of Lenin's time was devoted to determining proper Bolshevik 
tactics in the period of defeat of the revolution, and to implementing such 
tactics. At two Party confcrcnces-m Terijoki in late October and in 
rlelsingfors in November-he delivered reports on the Third Duma and 
on the tactics to be followed by the Social-Democratic group in the 
IJuma. Heated debate developed at each of these conferences. The Mcn- 
sneviks and the Bundists disputed Lenin's appraisal of the June 3 regime 
and the tasks he outlined for the Party. They advocated support of the 
ruling Octobnst** Party. Both conferences, however, carried thc Bolshevik 

During August-December 1907 Lenin prepared for press a three- 
voiume edition of his works, under the title: Twelve Years. In September 
oni^^f a prefacc to the first volume. Of the three planned volumes, 
niy Volume I and the first book of Volume II were actually published 
iume I came off the press in the middle of November 1907 (although 

V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 13, p. 76. 

its cover carried the date 1908). The author's name was given as VI. 
Ilyin. The first book of Volume II appeared at the beginning of 19^3. 

Volume I, which covered the period from 1895 to 1905, included: 
"The Economic Content of Narcdism and the Criticism of It in 
Mr. Struve's Book"; "The Tasks of the Russian Social-Democrats"; "The 
Persecutors of the Zcmstvo and the Hannibals of Liberalism"; "What i s 
To Be Done?"; "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back"; "The Zcmstvo 
Campaign and Iskra's Plan", and "Two Tactics of Social-Democracy 
in the Democratic Revolution". The writings collected in this volume, 
Lenin wrote in his preface, dealt with the programme, tactical and 
organisational questions of Russian Social-Democracy. 

The police were searching all Finland for Lenin. In November the 
St Petersburg Chamber of Justice banned his twelve Years. The book 
was confiscated, and proceedings were instituted against its author. 
On December 22 the Chamber of Justice ordered the book Two Tactics 
at Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution destroyed. Evading 
the police, Lenin left Kuokkala for Aggclby. A meeting of the Bolshevik 
centre decided to transfer the publication of Proletary abroad, and 
accordingly Lenin in December left Finland. Stopping off in Helsingfors, 
just before his departure for abroad, he conferred with comrades come 
from St. Petersburg to meet him. On the train for Abo, Lenin noticed 
that he was being shadowed. He managed to leave the train unnoticed 
when still several miles or so from Abo, and, though the day was bit- 
terly cold, tramped the rest of the way on foot, swinging his small suit- 
case. It was two o'clock in the morning when he reached the home 
of the Finnish Social-Democrat Valter Borg, who had been charged with 
arranging his passage from Abo to Stockholm. 

Arriving so late, Lenin missed the steamer whose captain had agreed 
to take on a passenger at Abo. Accompanied by two Finnish comraocs, 
Lenin set out for the boat's next stopping place. Part of the way lay 
across ice. which, for all the December frosts, was still unreliable. At 
one point the ice cracked underfcot and, as Lenin was later to relate^ the 
first thought to cross his mind was, "What a stupid way to die! At 
great risk, he succeeded finally in getting out of Finland. 

After a brief wait in Stockholm, Lenin was joined by his wife. Who 
had stayed behind in St. Petersburg to wind up their affairs. On her 
arrival they started for Geneva, stopping off for a few days m Ber.m. 
where they visited Rosa Luxemburg. Their second period of emigration 
had begun. 

The first Russian revolution had ended in defeat. But the BolsneviKS 
led by Lenin, had fought with honour in this mighty onset of tim A en *£ 
people against tsarism. As early as 1906, Lenin had written: "As U*- 
supporters and ideologists of the revolutionary proletariat, we shall d 
our duty to the last-wc shall keep to our revolutionary slogans desji* 
the treachery and baseness of the liberals, despite the vacillation, tisoiow 
and hesitancy displayed by the petty bourgcois-we shall make the utmos 
use of all revolutionary possibilities-we shall take pride in the ra 


that we were the first to take the path of an uprising and will be the 
last to abandon it, if this path in fact becomes impossible."* 

Lenin expressed the highest praise for the heroic struggle of the 
proletariat in the first Russian revolution, and dedicated impassioned 
lines to the memory of its finest sons, fallen in the struggle for freedom 
and happiness for the people. He wrote a heartfelt obituary for Nikolai 
Bauman, brutally murdered in October 1905 by Black-Hundred assassins. 
Vividly, he portrayed the life and activities of the worker Iskrist Ivan 
Babushkin, an active participant in the revolution of 1905, shot in 
Siberia by a punitive expedition of the tsarist government. He described 
Babushkin as a national hero, the pride of the Bolshevik Party. "Every- 
thing won from the tsarist autocracy," he wrote, "was won exclusively 
by the struggle of the masses led by such people as Babushkin."** 

Throughout the revolution Lenin thoroughly analysed the course of 
events, interpreting the tactics of the tsarist government and charting 
the tasks of the Party and the means of struggle to be adopted. Pursuing 
a consistently revolutionary line, he taught the working class to lead 
the revolution, and exposed the opportunist tactics of the Mcnsheviks. 
The revolution brought out with tremendous force the leading role of 
the proletariat, its strength and unity, its high level of organisation 
and political understanding. The Russian proletariat evinced a power as 
yet unexampled in any Western bourgeois revolution. In the struggle 
against tsarism it displaced the liberals and the Cadets as leaders of 
the masses and, in particular, of the peasantry. 

The first Russian revolution ushered in a period of revolutionary 
battles in the era of imperialism. It strongly influenced the development 
of the liberation movement the world over. 

The revolution of 1905-07 showed that the centre of the world revo- 
lutionary movement had shifted to Russia, and that the heroic Russian 
proletariat had become the vanguard of the international revolutionary 
proletariat. The struggle of the Russian proletariat was led by the 
Bolshevik Party, headed by Lenin. 

, T ^ e evolution put to the test of practice Lenin's great principles: 
me hegemony of the proletariat; the union of proletariat and peasantry; 
me role of the Party as the guiding force in the working-class movement. 
« demonstrated the correctness of the tactical slogans Lenin had 
advanced for the Bolshevik Party. Lenin acted in the revolution not 
JjWy as a theoretician, but as the organiser and leader of the masses in 
™e assault upon the tsarist autocracy. 

* V I. Lenin. Collected Works, Vol. 11, pp. 360-61. 
Ibid., Vol. 16, p. 364. 

Chapter Six 

Ai priv-tnt our Party is passing through difficult days but it 
i* invincible, just as the proletariat is invincible. 


Lenin and Krupskaya arrived in Geneva on a cold, windy day o£ 
January 1908. Coming back to this quiet sleepy town from revolutionary 
Russia was hard. Especially hard were the first days in Geneva. "I have 
a feeling as if I've come here to be buried," Lenin remarked bitterly. 

And Krupskaya recalls: "It was difficult for us, after the revolution, 
to get used to life in emigration again, Vladimir Uyich spent all his days 
in the library, and in the evenings we did not know what to do with 
ourselves, We had no desire to sit in the cold cheerless room we had 
rented and longed to be among people. Every evening we went to ths 
cinema or the theatre, although we seldom stayed to the end, usually 
leaving in the middle of a show to wander about the streets, most ofteo 
along the lake." :: 

* N. K. Krupskaya, Reminiscences ot Len'm, Moscow, 1959, p. 176. 

Shortly after his arrival Lenin addressed several emigre meetings. At 
one of these, a gathering of Polish Social-Democrats, he exposed the 
counter-revolutionary role of the nationalist bourgeoisie, showing how 
it adapted itself to the tsarist regime and opposed to it the international- 
ist position of the proletariat. "Long live a proletarian, workers' and 
peasants' Poland!" were his concluding words. 

All Lenin's thoughts were centred on the Russian revolution. He was 
deeply convinced that the proletariat had suffered only temporary defeat, 
that victory would be won in the heroic battles that lay ahead. With 
unfailing foresight and unswerving faith in the working class and the 
triumph of socialism, he worked passionately for that victory. He was 
sure it would come, and in his mind's eye saw the brighter future that 
was in store for Russia and the whole of mankind. 

After the defeat oi* the revolution. The years that followed the defeat 
of the revolution Lenin described as hellishly difficult. Reaction was 
rampant throughout Russia. The proletariat bore the brunt of political 
persecution. The Social-Democratic Party was in a state of deep crisis, 
organisationally, ideologically and politically. Party membership dropped 
drastically; the intellectual and petty-bourgeois elements that had 
joined the Party during the revolution were now scared off by the tsarist 
terror. A considerable section of the Social-Democrats gave way to 
confusion and vacillation, and a fairly wide section of the proletariat to 
dismay and apathy. Such was the position within the working-class 
movement and the Social-Democratic organisations in Russia. 

But Lenin and the Bolsheviks did not lose heart. The revolution had 
proved a splendid political school for millions of workers and peasants 
and brought to the fore a large cadre of militants. Try as the tsarist 
government did, it could not crush the progressive, forward-looking 
trends and elements that had emerged and matured during the revolu- 
tion. "The Russian people are not what they were prior to 1905," Lenin 
wrote. "The proletariat has taught them to fight. The proletariat will 
bring them to victory."* 

In the new situation Lenin considered the Party's basic tasks to be: 
retention and strengthening of the illegal organisation; assessment and 
interpretation of the results and experience of the revolution; defence 
of the theoretical foundations of Marxism; preservation of the revolu- 
tionary tradition, education of the working class in a revolutionary 
spirit; closer ties with the masses, and building up the forces for the 
new revolution. 

Back in Geneva. Lenin concentrated on organising the publication 
°5 a Party newspaper which, in the situation that had arisen, he con- 
r £ CC * » 1 pammount importance. "I am convinced," he wrote to Maxim 
vjorky, "that what the Parly needs now is a regularly published political 
°*gan capable of waging a sustained and effective struggle against the 
ejection and disintegration-a Party organ, a political newspaper. Many 

* V. L Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 16, p. 304. 


in Russia do not believe in a newspaper published abroad. They are 
wrong, and our collegium was right in deciding to transfer publicaL 
of Proletary to Geneva. That it will be hard to revive it and properly 
organise publication here goes without saying. But it must be done, 
and done it shall be."* 

The organisation of the paper took up much of Lenin's time and 
energy. Everything had to be begun anew. Fortunately, there were 
stocks of type and thin newsprint left over from 1905 in the Bolshevik 
library, of which V. Karpinsky was in charge. A press was rented from 
a French printshop. I. Vladimirov acted as compositor and I. Dubrovin v 
as manager. They were joined later by N. Semashko. In time the Parly 
set up its own printshop. 

Lenin invited Maxim Gorky, A. Lunacharsky and other prominent 
publicists to contribute to the paper. 

Lenin did not confine his activities to publishing Proletary. He arranged 
for its delivery to Russia, devoting much attention to finding reliable 
communication facilities and organising transportation. A week after 
his arrival in Geneva he instructed Maria Andreyeva to contact the 
secretary of the Maritime Workers' Union through whom, for appropriate 
remuneration, arrangements could be made for the weekly delivery 
of the paper to Russia via Odessa. This had to be done as soon as 
possible, Lenin insisted, in order that everything be prepared beforehand 
for Proletary to be shipped to Russia immediately it came off the press. 
Publication was resumed less than two months after Lenin returned to 
Geneva, with the appearance of issue No. 21. 

Through the dark night of reaction, amidst all the confusion and 
frustration, there sounded the powerful and confident voice of the 
leader of the Party and revolutionary working class of Russia: 

"We knew how to work during the long years preceding the revolu- 
tion. Not for nothing do they say we are as hard as rock. The Social- 
Democrats have built a proletarian party which will not be disheartened 
by the failure of the first armed onslaught, will not lose its head, nor 
be carried away by adventures. That party is marching to socialism, 
without tying itself or its future to the outcome of any particular period 
of bourgeois revolutions. That is precisely why it is also free of the 
weaker aspects of bourgeois revolution. And this proletarian party is 
inarching to victory."** 

Lessons of the revolution. Lenin considered a correct appraisal of the 
1905-07 revolution and the lessons it held for the working class to be 
of the utmost practical importance. He wrote: "We must take advantage 
of temporary lulls in mass action in order critically to study the 
experience of the great revolution, verify this experience, purge it of 
dross, and pass it on to the masses as a guide for the impending 
struggle.""" " This was necessary in order to apply the revolutionary 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. cd„ Vol. 34, p. 331. 
** V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 13, p. 446. 
*** Ibid., p. 429. 


methods of struggle more successfully, and in order to train, unite and 
organise even wider masses of the proletariat than in the 1905-07 

In his analysis of the revolution, Lenin emphasised that both its 
victories and defeats taught the people great historical lessons. The first 
and fundamental lesson was that only mass revolutionary struggle could 
improve the workers' conditions and secure a measure of democracy. 
The second lesson was that it was not enough to undermine or restrict 
tsarist rule; it had to be destroyed. The third and cardinal lesson consisted 
jo the Party having seen how the various classes of the Russian people 
acted. All classes of society came out openly and showed themselves in 
their true colours, revealed their true ambitions. 

It was especially important, Lenin said, to show that the working 
class was the leader and driving force of the Russian revolution. It 
was this leading role of the proletariat, and the fact that the liberal 
bourgeoisie had been pushed aside, that gave the revolution its tremen- 
dous scope and created conditions for a decisive battle for democratic 
freedoms. "By the heroic struggle it waged during the course of three 
years (1905-07) the Russian proletariat won for itself and for the Rus- 
sian people gains that took other nations decades to win. It won the 
emancipation of the working masses from the influence of treacherous 
and contemptibly impotent liberalism. It won for itself the hegemony 
in the struggle for freedom and democracy as a pre-condition of the 
struggle for socialism. It won for all the oppressed and exploited classes 
of Russia the ability to wage a revolutionary mass struggle, without 
which nothing of importance in the progress of mankind has been 
achieved anywhere in the world."* 

Time and again Lenin stressed the immense importance of the alliance 
of the proletariat and the peasantry, regarding this as an earnest of 
victory in the struggles that loomed ahead. 

"Our Party," he declared, "holds firmly to the view that the role of 
the proletariat is the role of leader in the bourgeois-democratic 
revolution; that joint actions of the proletariat and the peasantry are 
essential to carry it through to victory; that unless political power is 
won by the revolutionary classes, victory is impossible."** 

Lenin discussed the character of the Russian revolution and the lessons 
» be drawn from it in a number of articles and speeches. Beginning 
p lth thc spring of 1908, he addressed international gatherings in 
Geneva, Paris, Antwerp and London, and conducted a sharp polemic 
T th the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries. Firmly and confi- 
dently he answered all the hysterical outcries of his opponents and 
demolished their demagogic arguments and contentions. 

Lenin convincingly showed that the first Russian revolution was of 
icmcndous international significance: it marked the beginning of a new 
J^ofjhe revolutionary movement in Europe and exerted a powerful 

* V. I. Lenin. Collected Works, Vol. 16, p. 387. 
Ibid.. Vol. 15. p. 379. 


influence on the national liberation struggle in Asia. "The Russian 
revolution," he wrote later, "engendered a movement throughout the 
whole of Asia. The revolutions in Turkey, Persia and China prove thai- 
the mighty uprising of 1905 left a deep imprint, and that its influence, 
expressed in the forward movement of hundreds and hundreds of 
millions, is ineradicable."* 

The historic experience of the first Russian revolution, generalised 
by Lenin, was thus brought to the knowledge of the international 

The agrarian question. In these years of reaction Lenin devoted much 
time to a study of the agrarian question. For it was this problem that 
laid its peculiar, specifically national imprint on the revolution in 
Russia, with her overwhelmingly peasant population. The struggle for 
the land and against the oppression of the landowners impelled large 
sections of the peasantry to take an active part in the democratic 
revolution, for only through revolutionary action could the landed estates 
be abolished and democratic freedoms won. 

The feudal landlords tried to solve the agrarian problem from above, 
in a way that would suit their interests, and adapt themselves to the 
development of capitalism. They realised that something had to be done 
to avoid a new outbreak of peasant risings. In November 1906, the 
tsar's Minister, Stolypin, issued a new agrarian law enabling I he 
peasants to leave the village communes and set up separate farms. The 
idea was to encourage the rise of a large stratum of kulaks, or rich 
peasant farmers, as an additional class base of the autocracy. Lenin 
showed that the Stolypin reform, the second major reform since the 
freeing of the serfs in 1861, was a further step towards conversion of 
the autocracy into a bourgeois monarchy. It accelerated the capitalist 
development of agriculture, in a form especially tormenting for the 
working people. This was the "Prussian" path- retention of the power; 
property and privileges of the landed nobility. The Stolypin policy did 
not resolve the antagonism between peasant and landowner. It had a 
ruinous effect on the toiling peasants, and only aggravated class 
contradictions between the kulaks and the peasant poor. 

The wealth of experience gained in the agrarian movement of 1905 07, 
when the revolutionary nature of the peasants' demands was so explicitly 
manifested, made it necessary to revise the agrarian programme the 
Party had adopted at its Fourth (Unity) Congress. The fallacy and 
harm of the Menshevik programme of land municipalisation had to be 
exposed and a profound theoretical grounding worked out for the 
Bolshevik agrarian programme. That was done by Lenin. 

His Agrarian Programme ot Social-Democracy in the First Russia^ 
Revolution, 1905-07 holds a special place in his writings of this period 
and played an outstanding role in the development of Marxist theory 
and tactics. Proceeding from the experience of the revolution and 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 23, p. 252. 


creatively adapting Marx's theory to Russian conditions, Lenin compre- 
hensively substantiated the Bolshevik programme of nationalising all the 
land, showed its economic and political importance. 

In revising the agrarian programme, Lenin made a close analysis of 
the new data on landownership. He examined the economic factors that 
made necessary a revolutionary break-up of agrarian relations, drew a 
vivid picture of land distribution and clearly showed what the peasants 
had fought for in the revolution. He cited these figures: 

"Ten million peasant households own 73,000,000 dessiatines of land, 
whereas 28,000 noble and upstart landlords own 62,000,000 dessiatines. 
Such is the main background of the arena on which the peasants' struggle 
for the land is developing."" 

The issue at stake in the Russian bourgeois-democratic revolution, 
Lenin explained, was whether Russia's capitalist development would 
follow the "Prussian" path {retention of landed proprietorship) or the 
"American" path (abolition of landed proprietorship and emergence of 
a farmer class). That was the economic basis of the revolution, and unless 
this were made clear, there could be no clarity on the question of an. 
agrarian programme. The revolutionary Bolshevik programme stood out 
in sharp contrast to the frankly pro-landowner programmes of Stolypin 
and the Cadet party, both of which were predicated on retention of the 
landed estates and the survivals of serfdom. 

The central theme of Lenin's book was an examination of the R.S.D.L.P. 
agrarian programmes and how they had fared in the first Russian revo- 
lution. He disclosed the defects of the early agrarian demands advanced 
by the Russian Social-Democrats, criticised the programme adopted 
by the Menshevik majority at the Fourth R.S.D.L.P. Congress, and 
demolished all the arguments in favour of land municipalisation. 

The chief Menshevik argument for municipalisation was that the 
peasants were opposed to nationalisation of their allotment lands;** with 
the result that the peasant movement would bypass the Social-Democrat- 
ic Party, or even be directed against it, thus placing the Party outside 
the revolution. What the Mensheviks "overlooked", Lenin said, was 
that the system of peasant allotments was just as much a survival of 
medievalism as landed proprietorship itself. The fundamental difference 
between the nationalisation and municipalisation programmes was that 
the former would destroy the commune and the medieval system ot 
allotments with maximum benefit to the peasant, whereas the latter would 
obstruct the inevitable and economically-necessary process of eliminat- 
ing medieval land tenure. The Mensheviks, Lenin wrote, framed their 
agrarian programme not with a view to combating medieval land tenure, 
not to clear the way completely for capitalism, but for a pitilul 
Philistine attempt to combine 'harmoniously' the old with the new, 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 13, p. 225. 
** The allotments the peasants were given after the abolition of serfdom in 
ol. They were the property of the commune, could not be sold, and were subject 
periodical rcdivision. 


landed property which arose as a result of the system of allotment and 
the latifundia of the feudalists confiscated by the revolution". 

The 1905-07 revolution refuted all the Menshevik arguments, all then- 
reactionary claims about peasant hostility to the Bolshevik nationalisation 
programme. Three years of revolution had taught the peasants that they 
could expect nothing from the tsar and convinced them that the who!, 
system of medieval land tenure had to be eliminated. That could 1 
fully accomplished by nationalisation. 

As the party of the working class, the Bolsheviks consistently upheld 
the interests of the labouring peasantry. Expounding the Bolshevik 
agrarian programme, Lenin emphasised that the Social-Democratic Labour 
Party supported the peasants' revolutionary struggle up to and including 
confiscation of the landed estates. At the same time, however, it belie • 
that land nationalisation was the best form of agrarian relations in a 
capitalist society, and the surest way of abolishing serfdom. 

Lenin showed the indissoluble link between land nationalisation iv.iCi 
political revolution: nationalisation could be carried out only with 
victory of the revolution, only with the overthrow of tsarism, and it 
would facilitate the transition to socialist revolution. Land nationalisation 
was, in fact, a component part of Lenin's theory of the bourgc 
democratic revolution growing over into socialist revolution. 

The Agrarian Programme of Social-Democracy in the First Russian 
Revolution, 1905-07 was published in St. Petersburg in 1908 but \ 
immediately confiscated and destroyed by the censors. Only one copy 
was salvaged, but without the concluding pages. These Lenin wrote 
nearly ten years later, in September 1917, when the book was finally 
put out. In the summer of 1908, at the request of the Polish Social- 
Democrats, he wrote a synopsis of the book for their magazine Przeglad 
Socjaldemokratyczny (Social-Democrat Revieia). 

Against philosophical revisionism and reactionary philosophy. The 
reactionary ideologists took advantage of the defeat of the revoluLn : 
to distort, vulgarise and discredit the revolutionary theory of Marx and 
Engcls. The reactionary forces especially sought to revive religion, in 
the hope that religious preachment would divert the masses from the 
struggle for a better life, and that religious ideology could be used to 
bolster the tsarist regime and the bourgeois-landlord system generally. 
A trend known as "God-seeking" gained wide currency among the 
bourgeoisie, notably among intellectuals. 

This frustration and disbelief in the revolution, in the strength ot" the 
working class and people, and in the scientific validity and creative 
nature of Marxism, affected also a section of Party intellectuals. A 
number of Mcnshcviks (P. Yushkevich, N. Valentinov and others) and 
also several Bolshevik writers (A. Bogdanov, V. Bazarov, A. Lunacharsky 
and others) proceeded to "criticise" Marxism and its philosophical 
foundations. Some of them, the so-called "God-builders", advocated the 

* V. I Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 15, pp. 16.5-66. 






merger of socialism with religion, arguing that, presented in a religious 
dressing, socialism would be more easily understood. Actually, however, 
they were duping the workers. 

This rampant reaction was not a purely Russian phenomenon. With 
the advent of imperialism, the bourgeoisie of all countries turned from 
democracy to "all-out reaction" in economics, politics and ideology. 

_A philosophy known as "critical experience", or cmpirio-criticism, 
gained wide currency in Europe at the close of the nineteenth and in 
the early years of the twentieth centuries. It originated with the Austrian 
physicist and philosopher Ernst Mach and the German philosopher 
Richard Avenarius. The Machians denied the objective existence of a 
material world and the objective character of the laws governing natural 
and social development. The world we live in, they maintained, was not 
material, but simply our own sensation, and all things in the world were 
no more than "complexes of sensations". 

Machism was, at that time, the most dangerous trend in bourgeois 
idealistic philosophy with which the working class had to contend. 
Ostensibly, the Machians were opposed to idealism, even claiming that 
modern natural science provided substantiation for their theory, and 
this gave it a semblance of scientific validity. Their doctrine was sup- 
ported by the reactionary imperialist forces and was seized upon by the 
opportunist elements in the Second International (Max Adlcr, Otto 
Bauer and others). The central organ of the German Social-Democratic 
Party, Neue Zeit, of which Karl Kautsky was editor, and the party's 
theoretical journal, Sozialistische Monatshelte, one of the chief organs 
o£ international opportunism, for many years published articles by 
Machians and other revisionists. In his article "Those Who Would 
Liquidate US" Lenin emphasised that Kautsky was wrong in denying 
the idealistic nature of Machism. 

The West European and Russian revisionists proclaimed the Machian 
philosophy, which was no more than camouflaged clericalism, the latest 
word in scientific thought. Their bitterest attacks were levelled at 
the theory of knowledge of dialectical materialism. They tried to prove 
that Marxism had no philosophy of its own, and that Machism could 
therefore become its theory of knowledge. The revisionists continued 
to parade as Marxists, claiming that their sole aim was to "improve" 
Marxism, though in actual fact they were revising all the basic tenets 
of materialism, notably dialectical materialism, 

Lenin was particularly disgusted with the appearance, early in 1908, 
°f Studies in the Philosophy ot Marxism, a collection of articles by 
Bazarov, Herman, Bogdanov, Helfond, Lunacharsky, Suvorov and 
Yushkevich. He dubbed it "Studies Against the Philosophy of Marxism" 
for in it the Marxist philosophy was opposed by idealism and mysticism 
clothed in quasi-scientific verbiage. 

It was therefore necessary to expose and defeat these foes of the 
Marxist ideology, repel the attacks of Russian 

opportunists on the Marxist world outlook and show up the reactionary 


role of Machian philosophy. Defence of the theoretical foundations c 
the Marxist party became an urgent task, and Lenin explained why: the 
Russian working class needed a truly scientific, Marxist philosophy for 
a profound theoretical generalisation of the experience of the 1905-0." 
revolution. He wrote: "The present moment in Russia is precisely one 
in which the theoretical work of Marxism, its deepening and expansion, 
are dictated ... by the whole objective state of affairs in the country. 
When the masses are digesting a new and exceptionally rich experience 
of direct revolutionary struggle, the theoretical struggle for a revolution- 
ary outlook, i.e., for revolutionary Marxism, becomes the watchword 
of the day."* 

Lenin was fully confident that another revolution would take place 
in Russia, and considered it highly important, politically, to provide 
theoretical proof of its inevitability, scientifically to substantiate the 
policy of the working-class party on the basis of the objective laws of 
social development. 

This "philosophical sorting out", Lenin remarked, was necessary also 
in view of the new discoveries in the natural sciences. Progress in physics 
and other sciences posed many new philosophical problems for which 
bourgeois philosophy had no answer and which, Lenin said, dialectical 
materialism had to tackle. It was therefore necessary to give a phi 
sophical interpretation of major developments in the natural scienc. :§ 
since Marx and Engels. Lenin's writings on philosophy were not only of 
Russian, but of international significance. 

In February 1903, he began work on a book in which he gave battle 
to all opponents of Marxist philosophy. And though engrossed in this 
work, he carried on an active correspondence with Gorky, then strongly 
influenced by "God-building" and Machism. 

Gorky tried to persuade Lemn not to come out publicly against Bog- 
danov, Bazarov and Lunacharsky. Lenin could not agree to that, and 
he wrote Gorky: "You must understand-as you doubtlessly will-that 
once a Party man is convinced that a certain doctrine is utterly fallacious 
and haimtul, it is his duty to come out against it. I would not have 
made all this noise were I not absolutely convinced (and my conviction 
grows stronger daily, as I become more familiar with the fount of 
wisdom of Bazarov, Bogdanov and Co.), that their book, the whole of 
it, is absurd, harmful, philistine and clerical from beginning to end, 
from branch to root, right down to Mach and Avenarius."** And Lenin 
emphasised that "neutrality" on such issues was absolutely our of the 

In mid-April 1908, Lenin completed his famous article "Marxism and 
Revisionism", which he described as "a formal declaration of war" on 
revisionism. The article was written for the twenty-fifth anniversary of 
Marx's death and appeared in the symposium Karl Marx, published in 
St. Petersburg in 1908. In it Lenin showed that since the 1890s, when the 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 15. p. 290. 
** V. I. Lenin, Collected Works. 4th Russ. ed., Vcl. 34, p. 338. 


triumph of Marxism in the working-class movement was in the main 
completed, the fight against Marxism had assumed new forms. The 
revisionists sought to undermine this great doctrine of the revolutionary 
proletariat, on the plea of "amending" and "modifying" Marx. 

Lenin proved that the revisionists, limping behind bourgeois profes- 
sorial science, negated Marxist materialism and dialectics, rejected the 
fundamental tenets of Marxian political economy and the idea of class 
struggle and proletarian dictatorship, abandoned socialism as the ultimate 
aim of the working-class movement, and fully embraced reformism. 
Revisionism, Lenin demonstrated, was an international phenomenon 
with deep class roots in capitalist society. As long as capitalism exists, 
there will always be revisionism and, hence, the need for constant, 
systematic and energetic struggle against revisionism in the working- 
class movement. 

Lenin put all his conviction into this attack on the distorters of Marx- 
ism, prophetically declaring that the ideological struggle of revolutionary 
Marxism against revisionism was but the prelude to the great revolution- 
ary battles of the proletariat, which was marching forward to the 
complete triumph of its cause, overcoming weaknesses and vacillations 
in the working-class movement. 

Visit to Capri. In the second half of April 1908, Lenin visited Gorky 
on the Isle of Capri, Italy, in response to Gorky's repeated invitations. 
Lenin again warned Gorky against useless attempts to reconcile him 
with Bogdanov, Lunacharsky and Bazarov, then living in Capri. He 
was not going to discuss philosophy and religion with them; he had 
come to discuss Gorky's more active participation in Proletary. 

Lenin had many talks with Gorky. He listened with keen interest to 
Gorky's stories of his childhood and youth in Nizhny Novgorod, of the 
great Volga, of Gorky's travels and wanderings through Russia. He 
suggested that Gorky write the stcry of his life. It would make splendid 
and very instructive reading, he said. Gorky followed this advice 
in later years, when he wrote his famous trilogy Childhood, My 
Apprenticeship and My Universities. 

Together with Gorky, Lenin visited Naples, its National Museum and 
suburbs, the ruins of Pompeii, climbed Vesuvius. On several occasions 
they went out to sea with the Capri fishermen. In his conversations with 
them he would ask about their life, their earnings, their families. Gorky 
said in his reminiscences there was "something magnetic" about Lenin, 
something that attracted the hearts of working folk. The Capri fisher- 
men had met Chaliapin and many other famous Russians, but none of 
them had won their affection as Lenin had. One of these fishermen, 
Jjiovanni Spadaro. on hearing Lenin's hearty laugh, remarked: "Only 
honest men can laugh like that." And long after Lenin had left the 
Jjshermen would ask Gorky about "Signer Lenin", afraid lest he fall into 
*ke hands of the tsar's police. 

The Capri visit brought Lenin and Gorky still closer together. Gorky 
admired in Lenin his wide range of interests and knowledge: "He showed 


the same interest in a game of chess, in a book on the History oi Dress-, 
could spend hours in argument with comrades, fishing, rambling in the 
hills under the hot southern sun, admiring the golden hues of the Genista, 
or talking to children in the fishing villages.'' Gorky was strongly 
impressed by Lenin's advice and by his remarks that the writer should 
always be in close touch with his country and people. 

At Lenin's suggestion, part of their daily talks was devoted to 
reminiscences of Russia. One day, as he watched fishermen untangling a 
net partly torn by sharks, Lenin remarked: "Our people do it better. 
Gorky questioned that, and Lenin said, not without regret: "Hm, aren't 
you forgetting Russia, living on this hump?" 

Gorky was later to write of Lenin: "He was a Russian who, long away 
from Russia, looked at her with eager cyes-from afar the picture was 
of a more vivid, fuller Russia. And Lenin was able accurately to gauge 
her potential strcngth-the extraordinary talent of her people, a talent 
still poorly expressed, yet to be awakened by harsh history. But the 
talent was there, everywhere, standing out like a star of gold against 
the sombre, fantastic background of Russian life."" 

The Capri visit, their subsequent meetings in Paris in 1911 and 1912 
and their correspondence, are striking evidence of the concern the leader 
of the working class showed for the development of the great proletarian 
writer, a splendid example of how creative writing benefits from P,r y 
leadership. Lenin helped the great writer discard his erroneous vicv. s. 
"His attitude," Gorky wrote, "was that of a strict teacher and good, 
solicitous friend." 

Try as Lenin did to steer clear of philosophical problems, he could 
not avoid them. And Bogdanov, Bazarov and Lunacharsky had to listen 
to many a sharp and critical remark on the subject. Lenin reaffirmed 
his complete opposition to their philosophical views but suggested i it 
"our common resources and energies should be used on counterblast! ig 
the Menshevik-liquidationist version of the history of the revolution 
with a Bolshevik history oi the revolution, but these Capriotes turned 
down my proposition, preferring to disseminate their own spc 1 
philosophical views rather than to work for the common cause of the 

"Materialism and Empirio-Criticism". Back in Geneva, Lenin con- 
tinued work on his book. This entailed a great deal of scientific research, 
the study of hundreds of works on philosophy, the natural sciences, no- 
tably physics, in German, French, English and Russian, rereading of the 
philosophical works of Marx and Engels, and of the writings of Pic 
khanov, Mehring, Fcuerbach, Dietzgcn and other authors. In May 1903, 
Lenin went to London, where he worked in the British Museum. 

The work progressed rapidly and the book was completed in October 

* Reminiscences oi Lenin. Russ. cd., 1956, Part 1, pp. 381, 392. 
** Reference is to The Early Twentieth-Century Social Movement In Russuh 
published under the editorship of L. Martov, P. Maslov and A. Potresov. 
*** V. L Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 15, p. 474. 


igOS. Publishing the book legally presented many difficulties. How- 
ever, arrangements for its publication were made, through L Skvortsov- 
Stepanov, with Zveno. a Moscow publishing firm run by L. Krumbugcl. 
Lenin was anxious to have it published as soon as possible. "It is 
important to get the book out without delay," he wrote to his sister 
Anna. "For me it is connected not only with literary, but also with 
serious political considerations." Lenin was anxious to get the book out 
because a meeting of the enlarged editorial board of Proletary (actually 
the Bolshevik centre) was scheduled for June 1909, at which he intended 
to wage a decisive battle against Bogdanov and his supporters 

The book was off the press in May 1909. Its full title is: Materialism 
and Empmo-Cnticism. Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy. 

It was a striking example of uncompromising struggle against the 
enemies of Marxist philosophy, an example of militant Bolshevik 
partisanship and defence of Marxism. 

In Materialism and Empirio- Criticism Lenin subjected to comprehen- 
sive and closely argued criticism bourgeois idealistic philosophy and 
philosophic revisionism, exposed their new methods of defending cap- 
italism, and formulated and further developed the basic propositions of 
Marxist philosophy-thc materiality of the world, the objective character 
of the laws governing development in nature and society, the dialectical 
process of cognition. 

Lenin demonstrated that Mach and other bourgeois philosophers 
while proclaiming r theirs to be a new philosophy, were palming off the 
old idealistic rubbish in a new guise. Under the abstruse name of 
empirio-cnticism they were resurrecting, in a somewhat refurbished 
version, the philosophy of Berkeley, the eighteenth-century English 
bishop and arrant obscurantist. Lenin was able to prove that the under- 
lying premise of Berkeley's philosophy and of empirio-criticism was 
one and the same, namely, subjective idealism. 

In his refutation of the Machist understanding of the world as a 
cong omeration of subjective sensations, Lenin squarely confronted the 

nvH,^ WeSt " 75 3 ? Machia " 5 J Vith tMs "Did nature 

TJl P ll I n m l n - And Lemn WaS able to show that thc Machians' 
Swl I aU th , m9S were com P Iexcs of sensations must inevitably 
the wn'lH ^ achiai }f r antGd k or not ' lcad to the al »™d view that 
mbd^F 1 " a T' i hL ! manS ' 1c cxistcd onl y ™ our sensations, in the 
Zn thi J f Lcnin also asked the question: "Does 

^sn r i m i k W3t ? t lC , he P 0t the bmin? " Thc empirio-criticists made the 

S C t ? t bmin Wa l l n0t * c or9an o£ thou 9 ht conse- 
quently, that thought was possible without the brain. This Lenin ridi- 

conf a r a bramless Philosophy" and proved that it was fundamentally 
ntradictory to science and everyday practice, both of which confirmed 

^^^n^T 8 ^ mattCr iS P1 ' imaiy and conscious ^s S , 

*att£ Ma f *Y he0ry -° f kmnvlcd S e - Lenin's classical definition of 
*ei, part of his consistent substantiation of dialectical materialism. 



represents an invaluable contribution to scientific philosophy. "Matter," 
Lenin wrote, "is a philosophical category denoting the objective reality 
which is given to man by his sensations, and which is copied, phc v 
graphed and reflected by our sensations, while existing independently of 
them." Or, in short, matter is "objective reality existing independe , v 
of the human mind and reflected by it".* And Lenin regarded matter as 
being in constant movement-objective reality is matter in movement. 
The proposition that matter exists outside and independently of our 
consciousness is the basic tenet of philosophical materialism. 

Lenin devoted special attention to elaborating the cardinal probL. us 
of the theory of knowledge of dialectical materialism, that is, the theory 
of reflection. Our sensations and concepts of things are the reflection 
of the objective world and are therefore objective in content, indepc d- 
ent of man and mankind. Lenin defined this objective content of our 
sensations, of our consciousness as objective truth. And the great cog- 
nitive force of Marxism lies in the fact that it relies wholly on objective 
truth. "Historical materialism and Marx's entire economic doctrine." 
Lenin emphasised, "are permeated through and through by a recognition 
of objective truth."* 51 ' 

Lenin's comprehensive presentation of the process of knowledge, of 
the dialectics of absolute and relative truth, is unparalleled for its depth 
of analysis and is of vast theoretical and practical significance. He den on- 
strated that human knowledge is in process of constant and uninterrupted 
developmcnt-from ignorance to knowledge, from incomplete and inexact 
knowledge to more complete and more exact, from relative to absolute 
truth. And there is no impassable boundary between the two: "Human 
thought ... by its nature is capable of giving, and docs give, absolute 
truth, which is compounded of a sum-total of relative truths/'*** 

The dialectical-materialist doctrine of absolute and relative tin is 
the key to a scientific and creative understanding of theoretical probi ms 
and, at the same time, a powerful weapon against revisionism and 
dogmatism. Marxism is objective truth confirmed by the course of history. 
The fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism have to be creatively 
developed, concretised, enriched by the new data of science and practice. 
But there can be no revision of the substance and revolutionary S] lirit 
of Marxism, 

Revisionism in the theory of knowledge is essentially based c 
subjective and idealist interpretation of the concept of truth. It negate? 
the very possibility of objective truth and of our knowledge develo pitiS 
from relative to absolute truth. 

The latter-day revisionists seek to justify their departure from 
Marxism-Leninism by pleading the need to take into account social 
changes and scientific discoveries. No one will dispute that. But the 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 14, pp. 130, 261. 
** Ibid., p. 319. 
** Ibid., p. 135. 


revisionists maintain that these changes can be understood and explained 
only by a doctrine that regards all our knowledge as relative, as totally 
unconnected with objective, absolute truth, They attack such Marxist- 
Leninist propositions as "absolute truth", "struggle of opposites", 
"antagonistic contradictions", "class analysis" of social phenomena, etc. 
They seek to substitute idealist for materialist dialectics, separate 
historical materialism from dialectical materialism, etc. 

And proceeding from that "philosophy", the revisionists contend that 
the principles of Marxism are relative, subjective and that its chief 
propositions-trie history-dictated need for socialist revolution and 
proletarian dictatorship, the leading role of the Marxist-Leninist party- 
are "obsolete". Marxism, they claim, is in general inapplicable to 
present-day realities. They urge "peaceful co existence" of socialist and 
bourgeois ideology. The revisionists are, in effect, peddling the ideas of 
bourgeois-reformist philosophy and nationalist ideology in the working- 
class movement. 

Dogmatism goes to the other extreme: it flatly negates the relative 
nature of our knowledge, claiming that it is always absolute and, 
accordingly, clings to old formulae and conclusions, applying them in 
total disregard of concrete historical conditions and new developments. 
The dogmatists do not understand the creative nature of Marxism, the 
need to develop it further on the basis of the new data provided by 
science and practice. In practical Party activity dogmatism inevitably 
leads to sectarianism, loss of contact with the masses. 

Marxists-Leninists must wage a two-front struggle-against revisionism 
and dogmatism and sectarianism. 

In Materialism and Empirio-Ciiticism, Lenin gave a comprehensive 
expose of the role of practice in the process of knowledge. He showed, 
first, that knowledge and science stem from the requirements of practice, 
that practice is the most profound source of knowledge, its chief motive 
power, and that practical activities are of vast significance for our 
knowledge of theory. "The standpoint of life, of practice, should be first 
and fundamental in the theory of knowledge."* 

Lenin fully disclosed, secondly, the role of practice as a criterion of 
truth and the best refutation of all the diverse species of idealism and 
agnosticism, of all manner of fabrication and delusion, A theoretical 
concept proved by practice becomes objective truth. Practice is a process 
°r constant development and regeneration. This prevents man's 
Knowledge from deteriorating into an "absolute", into an ossified dogma, 
and makes for the steady advancement and deepening of our knowl- 
edge. Marxism represents the integral unity of scientific theory and 
tevolutionary practice. 

of £ in ' s elaboration of the theory of knowledge is a splendid example 
the creative development of dialectical materialism and a most 
Valuable contribution to Marxist philosophy. 

* V. L Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 14, p. 142. 



Lenin trenchantly criticised the Machians' views on society and their 
attempts to inject idealism into the social sciences and undermine the 
scientific proof o£ the inevitability of proletarian revolution. The Machian 
"sociology", Lenin showed, had nothing to distinguish it from bourgeois 
sociology. In fact, reactionary bourgeois ideologists have long been cam- 
paigning against scientific cognition of the laws of history. They have 
good reason to fear genuine science, and hence their frenzied campaign 
against Marxism, which reveals to us the objective laws of historic ! 

Later, in his article "Socialism Demolished Again", directed against 
P. Struve, ideologist of the Russian bourgeoisie, Lenin wrote; "Despair 
of ever being able to give a scientific analysis of the present, a denial of 
science, a tendency to despise all generalisations, to hide from all @ 
'laws' of historical development, and make the trees screen the mood- 
such is the class idea underlying the fashionable bourgeois scepticism, the 
dead and deadening scholasticism, which we find in Mr. Struve's book."* 

Analysis of the contradictions of capitalism inspires in the bourgc e 
fear and despair in the face of the laws of history, for the march of 
history inevitably leads to the collapse of capitalist society and 
replacement by communist society. 

Lenin enriched and carried further the Marxist principle of pari : 
ship in philosophy. 

He especially emphasised the integral and harmonious character of 
Marxist philosophy and demolished all revisionist attempts to separate 
Marx's economic and political doctrines from philosophical material i. 
"From this Marxist philosophy, which is cast from a single piece of 
steel, you cannot eliminate one basic premise, one essential part, will ut 
departing from objective truth, without falling a prey to a bourgeois- 
reactionary falsehood."* :! '' 

Philosophical generalisation of new developments in the natural 
sciences. Both in Russia and Western Europe, the revisionists olaii ed 
that Machism was a "new philosophy of the natural sciences". That 
speculation on the natural sciences had to be effectively refuted and the 
new scientific discoveries given philosophical interpretation. Lenin il" 
liantly accomplished both tasks in his Materialism and Empiric- Critic i -v.. 

He revealed the causes and substance of the profound crisis ill ifi 
natural sciences. Great scientific discoveries were made at the turn of 
the century: X-rays (1895), radioactivity (1896), the electron (1897), 
radium (1898), the electron theory of matter. This was the beginning of 
a veritable revolution in the natural sciences, one that drastically changed 
the generally accepted views of classical physics. It was established that 
the mass of the electron depended on speed and that the chemical 
elements could be transformed into one another. These fundamental 
discoveries led to a crisis in physics. 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol 20, p. 199. 
** ibid., Vol. 14, p. 326. 


"The essence of the crisis in modem physics," Lenin pointed out, 
"consists in the break-down of the old laws and basic principles, in the 
rejection of an objective reality existing outside the mind, that is, in the 
replacement of materialism by idealism and agnosticism."* 

The need had matured for physics to shift from its positions of 
spontaneous, unrealised and often metaphysical materialism to new 
positions of dialectic materialism. 

Reactionary philosophers immediately seized on the new scientific 
discoveries and on the gnoseological problems posed by these discov- 
eries to give prominence to their own interpretations, based entirely on 
idealistic theories, and divert the scientist from materialism to the old, 
discredited path of idealism and reconcile science with religion. 

The now generally accepted fact that the mass of the electron was 
changeable was exploited by idealist philosophers and physicists who 
subscribed to their theories to prove that movement and energy were 
conceivable without matter, that "matter vanished", that the very con- 
cept of matter had become obsolete. There appeared a new trend, 
"physical idealism". 

Lenin exposed the utter untenability of this idealistic interpretation. 
Is the electron objective reality, does it exist outside and independently 
of the human mind?- that was the question he put to the Machian 
physicists who had strayed into idealism. And Lenin wrote: "The scien- 
tists will also have to answer this question unhesitatingly; and they do 
invariably answer it in the affirmative, just as they unhesitatingly 
recognise that nature existed prior to man and prior to organic matter. 
Thus, the question is decided in favour of materialism."** 

Lenin maintained that the electron was not the ultimate "immutable 
essence of things", the last "brick" of nature. "The electron is as 
inexhaustible as the atom, nature is infinite."*** 

Lenin was able to prove that the new scientific discoveries fully cor- 
roborated dialectical materialism, for "the destructibility of the atom, 
its inexhaustibility, the mutability of all forms of matter and of its 
motion, have always been the stronghold of dialectical materialism".**** 

And dialectical materialism was the only true method of investigation 
and the only true philosophy. For it alone is intrinsically connected 
with the natural sciences, and by penetrating every field of research 
makes it possible correctly to interpret scientific achievements and 
indicate the sure road to resolving any crisis in science. But materialism, 
being a scientific world outlook, has to be constantly developed and 
enriched by new scientific discoveries. We cannot effectively uphold 
dialectical materialism, Lenin stressed, if we stand still, and he urged 
aj l Marxists to study modern science and the struggle for materialism 

' V. T, Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 14, p. 258. 
Z ^id., p. 261. 

tte't ' P. 262. 
** Ibid., p. 281. 


in science. The science of matter and its structure, he emphasised, was 
a powerful weapon against idealism and agnosticism, 

Engels once said that "with each epoch-making discovery even in the 
sphere of natural science materialism has to change its form",* And it 
was Lenin who gave materialism a new form in adaptation to the new 
conditions of history, when capitalism had entered its imperialist stage, 
and when science was undergoing revolutionary transformation. His 
Materialism and Empirio-Criticism concretised, investigated a ! id 
elucidated, on the basis of the latest achievements of science, all the 
cardinal problems of dialectical materialism: matter and its motion, 
time and space, causality, freedom and necessity, reflection of the 
objective world in man's mind, the dialectical nature of knowledge, e 
relation between social consciousness and social being, etc, 

"Materialism and Empirio-Criticism" represents the new, Lenin stage 
in Marxist philosophy. 

It is a paean to the power of the human mind, revealing the limit:. ;s 
prospects for our scientific understanding of the essence of phcnoin 
in infinite nature. "Human reason has discovered many amazing things 
in nature and will discover still more, and will thereby increase 
power over nature."** Modern science, which has demonstrated e 
potency of human knowledge, is disclosing the laws governing the 
"amazing" processes taking place within the atom and its nucleus, and 
learning to control these processes. The noble task facing science is lo 
make all the great discoveries and the immense energy they release serve 
mankind and peace. 

Powerful theoretical weapon. The appearance of Materialism it id 
Empirio-Criticism was of immense importance for the Party's activities, 
for in it Lenin not only defended the Party's theoretical heritage against 
attacks by the revisionists and dogmatists, but made an invaluable 
contribution to Marxist philosophy, which he raised to a new, higher 

Its publication was followed by heated philosophical discussions 
among Russian Social-Democrats in many parts of Europe. The largest 
discussion gatherings and the most frequent were held in Paris, where 
hundreds of Russian socialist workers living in the Paris working-c SS 
districts visited the Bolshevik Proletary club. Lenin's views were force- 
fully supported at these and other discussions by I. Dubrovinsky, a 
member of the Bolshevik Centre and the Proletary editorial board. 
Using Lenin's "Ten Questions to a Lecturer", he was able to make out 
a very convincing case against Bogdanov at the latter's public led: :e 
in Geneva in the summer of 1908. 

In Russia the philosophical struggle was waged in Party organisations 
and among political prisoners in tsarist jails and places of exile. Lenin 
was warmly supported in his battle with the Russian Machians ^ 

* Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Selected Works, Moscow, 1958, Vol. % 
p. 373. 

** V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 14, pp. 281-82. 


ntzovists by V. Vorovsky, I. Tcodorovich, Y. Rudzutak, N. Skrypnik 
rtd rank-and-file Bolshevik workers. 

In June 1909, V. Vorovsky was able to review Lenin's book in the 
Odessa newspaper Obozreniye. Remarking that "an outstanding 
theoretician of Russian Marxism" had written a closely-argued book 
inst jyiachism. Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, Critical Comments 
0# a Reactionary Philosophy, Vorovsky wrote: "Lenin scathingly 
criticises a doctrine reactionary not only in relation to the philosophy 
and gnoseology of Marx and Engels, but even to that of Kant, whose 
'thing-in-itself Avcnarius and like-minded philosophers flatly negate 
and advance their own theory of 'complexes of sensations'." 

Lenin's criticism of Machism, Vorovsky further pointed out, "is or 
particular value for Russia, where Messrs. the Bogdanovs, Bazarovs, 
Yushkeviches, Bermans and their ilk have departed from historical 
niaterialism and are causing chaos in readers' minds by presenting as 
Marxism 'something incredibly muddled, confused and reactionary'. 
While ostensibly arguing against Plekhanov, they are in reality arguing 
against Marx and Engels".* 

Some Bolsheviks, however, underestimated the significance of Lenin's 
battle against Machism and his defence of dialectical and historical 

In these years of reaction, Stalin displayed indecision in the fight 
against Otzovism and took a conciliatory attitude towards the Machist 
attacks on Marxist philosophy. His letter to Mikha Tskhakaya (July 
1908),** who was then living in Switzerland and at one time sided with 
the Otzovists and "God-builders", suggests that he did not appreciate 
the importance of the struggle Lenin and the Party were waging against 
the Bogdanov, Bazarov and Lunacharsky group on philosophical issues. 
Stalin described it as a "storm in a teacup". Though admitting that 
empirio-criticism (Machism) was unacceptable to a proletarian party, 
he argued that Machism had its "good aspects", regarding Mach and 
Avenarius, on a par with Holbach and Hegel, as "men of science" in 
matters of philosophy. He suggested, in his letter to Tskhakaya, that 
the dialectical materialism of Marx and Engels be developed and 
concretised "in the spirit of Joseph Dietzgen, assimilating, at the same 
time, the good aspects of Machism". In another letter, to M. Toroshe- 
hdze in Geneva, written shortly after publication of the book,*"* Stalin 
praised it as "the only one of its kind to give a full summary of the 
Philosophy (gnoseology) of materialism". At the same time, however, 
?e maintained that Bogdanov had "aptly and correctly" spotted "certain 
^dividual defects" in Lenin's analysis. 

* To avoid complications with the censor, Vorovsky's article was printed as a 
review of Fervorn's Natural Science and Philosophy. The Problem of Lite, though 
joe review dealt solely with Materialism and Empirio-Criticism. It appeared in the 
pfessa Obo/Acniye of June 5, No. 439, 1909, p, 3, and was reprinted in Voprosy 
t'tosoin (Problems ol Philosophy) No. 3, 1957, p. 123. 
*** Centr al Party Archives of Institute of Marxism-Leninism, 


The appearance of Materialism and Empirio-Cviticism was an event 
of first-rate importance in the life and work of the Party. 

Lenin was keenly interested in everything comrades from Russia 
could tell him about how the book had been received, particularly j n 
St. Petersburg, where the Machians enjoyed considerable influence. It s 
appearance aroused wide interest in the study of Marxist philosophy 
among Party members and did much to help Party activists and front- 
rank workers master dialectical and historical materialism. 

By exposing Machism, Lenin and the Bolsheviks dealt a telling blow 
to Mcnshevik ideology, for in Russia Machism was especially strong 
in the Menshevik organisations, which were composed chiefly of petty- 
bourgeois intellectuals. In fact Machism was the theoretical basis f 
Liquidationism and Menshevik defection from the revolution. The 
struggle against Machism waged by Lenin and the Bolsheviks played a 
direct part also in defeating Otzovism, a Left-sectarian trend which, 
essentially, was a variety of Menshevism or, in Lenin's words] 
"Liquidationism inside-out". 

Materialism and Empirio-Criticism was a powerful weapon of x 
Party in the battle against all forms and varieties of opportunism, against 
all the falsifiers of Marxism in the Russian working-class moverm ;l. 
It played an outstanding part in the ideological arming of the 
Bolsheviks, in the theoretical substantiation of the principles of c 
Marxist party of the new type and in rallying and strengthening s 

For more than half a century now this classical work of Lenin has 
served the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as a reliable guiri. in 
forming the scientific world outlook of the people and in combating 
reactionary ideology. The fight waged by Lenin and the Bolshe\ ks 
against philosophical revisionism had a strong international iihpac il 
exposed the Second International leaders' contention that philosophy id 
no relation to politics, that the philosophical views of Party mem 
were their private affair, and that one could be a Marxist with ut 
subscribing to dialectical materialism. 

Materialism and Empirio-Criticism has for many progressive scientists 
been a guide in their research, helping them to break with ideali M? 
views and adopt a scientific, materialist world outlook. For a nun . ir 
of outstanding progressive scientists, acquaintance with Marxist-Lcn ; st 
theory and the experience of the liberation struggle of the working 
people was decisive in winning them over to the working class and 
communism. That is how the eminent French scientists and peace fighters 
Paul Langevin and Frederic JoliotCurie joined the communist ranks. 

In our day, too, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism contributes to the 
struggle against bourgeois philosophy, revisionism and dogmal fit 
helping the peoples to understand and reorganise in a revolution m*y 
fashion the world they live in. 

In Paris. Towards the close of 1908, publication of Proletary was 
transferred to Paris, then the centre of Russian political emigration. 


This made it necessary for Lenin and Krupskaya to move to Paris too. 
Besides, conditions in Geneva had changed- the authorities had begun 
to persecute the Russian revolutionaries and landlords often refused to 
rent them rooms. 

There was some difficulty in finding a suitable flat in Paris. At first 
they rented a four-room apartment-a rather sumptuous affair with 
mirrored mantlcpicces-but it was too expensive and out of keeping with 
the furniture they had brought from Geneva. The concierge looked on 
with scorn as the new lodgers brought in their modest belongings. The 
landlord even refused to give Krupskaya the letter of recommendation 
required of all lending library subscribers. Arter a while a suitable two- 
rcom apartment (now the Lenin Museum) was found in the Rue Marie- 

Most of the Russian emigres lived in extreme poverty. Many did not 
have regular jobs and led a semi-starvation existence. Lenin himself 
lived very modestly (Krupskaya recalled later that they had to economise 
on tram fares, food, etc.), but managed to contribute to the emigres 
mutual-aid fund. The proceeds from his public lectures went to help 
comrades, and if Lenin saw that a comrade was in pressing circum- 
stances, he did everything to find him work. 

In Paris, as in Geneva, there were always many visitors; they felt 
at home at the "Ilyiches" in the atmosphere of 'complete harmony, 
mutual affection, consideration and infinite tact. Everyone who visited 
them remarked on this and on the unfailing consideration Lenin showed 
tor Krupskaya s aged mother, whom he always helped with her 
household chores. This friendly atmosphere never failed to attract the 
emigres for whom separation from Russia was especially painful in 
these difficult post-revolution years. 

Everyone who knew Lenin in these trying times remarked on his 
optimism, and varied interests. Though engrossed in political activity, 
he always found time for a lecture on Shakespeare, a brief visit to 
Antwerp, its port and museum, a game of chess (his mother had sent 
or vLT Sr ch ? ssmen C3 , rvcd h y his MierJ, a premiere at the theatre, 
hi £ Hu S? s vcrse about the 1848 revolution. On sleepless nights 
ne > would read Verhacrn. Lenin was fond of a theatre frequented* by 
woiKers m one of the suburbs. It staged revolutionary plays that could 
« be produced on the regular Pans stage. He also liked to hear 
ontegus whose performance of revolutionary songs had made him 
layounte of the working-class suburbs. Montcgus was the son of a 
j s y°mniunard and Lenin enjoyed chatting with him. 

fliqh? c m ^^ a % kcCnly J nt c Crestcd in aviation and liked to watch the test 
'9Jits at the Juvisy Airfield near Paris. 

Toqerhp, nS -^"S * Ci ° SC Study of the French laboiu ' movement 

his 7Z f r Na , de * hda Konstantinovna he visited Paul Lafarque and 

some fl?' f U f.'t C dau S[ htcr o£ Karl Marx, at their home in Draveil, 

*4 In T etre \ fr r F ai ' is - Thc Lakrgi"* reived them with 
coidiality. Lenin had a long talk with Lafargue, whom he had 


first met in 1895, on philosophical subjects, notably Materialism and 
Empitio-Chlicism. Laura Laf argue walked with Nadezhda Konstantinov- 
na in the park and they discussed events in Russia and the participation 
of women in the revolutionary movement. The visit left an indelible 

impression. . 

Lenin reacted to every political development in Russia, in January- 
March 1909, during the leather workers' strike in Vilno, he took 
energetic measures to organise relief. In a letter to Camille Huysmaus, 
Secretary of the International Socialist Bureau, he urged organisation 
of a strike relief fund. After discussing the matter with P. V. Eidukya- 
vichus (Martseli), who had come from Russia to collect money for the 
strikers, he again approached Huysmans, endorsing Eidukyavichus's 
mission'. He returned to the subject somewhat later in a third letter 
pressing for action by the LS.B. 

Struggle to preserve and strengthen the illegal revolutionary party. 
In those trying years of reaction, Lenin considered the Bolsheviks' c 
task to be preservation and strengthening of the illegal working-class 
party and preparation of the proletariat for the new rise of Lie 
revolution. "We were able to work years and decades before the 
revolution, carrying our revolutionary slogans first into the study- 
circles, then among the masses of the workers, then on to the streets, 
then on to the barricades. We must be capable, now too, of organising 
first and foremost that which constitutes the task of the hour, 
without which all talk about co-ordinated political action will be era y 
words, namely, the task of building a strong proletarian organisation, 
everywhere carrying on political agitation among the masses for its 
revolutionary watchwords."* 

Lenin elaborated and substantiated the Party's policy and tactics of 
preserving and rallying together the forces needed to prepare for a 
new revolutionary offensive. He taught the Bolsheviks to avail tfa 
selves of every opportunity, even the smallest, to come out in the open, 
bring into the movement new proletarian forces, imbue every aspect of 
their activity with the spirit of revolutionary struggle. 

The illegal workers' party could be preserved and strengthened only 
through uncompromising struggle against its numerous cncmics-Lhe 
Mcnsheviks, Trotskyites and their accomplices. The Mcnsheviks had 
retreated in panic, had shamefully renounced the Party's revolutionary 
programme, tactics and goals, had no faith in a new rise of the revolution. 
They appealed to the workers to seek agreement with the bourgeoisie. 
They wanted to liquidate, abolish the illegal party organisations, cease 
all illegal activity and tried to set up a reformist, legal party. These 
were the Liquidators, and they did great harm to the workings SS 
movement. They denied that a new democratic revolution againsr 
the monarchy was inevitable. In their view, the revolution had been 
completed and there was no longer any need for an illegal revoluUo) > 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works. Vol. 15. p. 218. 


proletarian party. The need now, they argued, was to come to terms 
with the tsarist regime and fight for reforms. 

The emergence of this Liquidationist trend, Lenin pointed out, was 
no mere accident. It was a deep-rooted social phenomenon, indissolubly 
connected with the counter-revolutionary position of the liberal 
bourgeoisie and disintegration among the petty-bourgeois fellow 
travellers of the revolution. Menshevik Liquidationism, Lenin wrote, 
"consists ideologically in negation of the revolutionary class struggle 
of the socialist proletariat in general, and denial of the hegemony of 
the proletariat in our bourgeois-democratic revolution in particular/'" 
Organisationally, Liquidationism signified negation of the illegal 
Social-Democratic Party, defection from the R.S.D.L.P., resignation from 
its ranks, and struggle against the Party in the legal press and legal 
workers' organisations. Without relentlessly combating Liquidationism 
and destroying it, Lenin stressed, the Party could make no headway. 

The ideological confusion and disintegration led not only to direct 
Liquidationism, but to "Liquidationism inside-out", or Otzovism. In the 
spring of 1908, an opportunist group of Bolshcviks-Bogdanov, Alcxinsky, 
Lunacharsky and others-declared that in view of the fierce reactionary 
onslaught, the Party should confine itself to illegal activities. Accordingly, 
the group urged the recall of the Social-Democratic members of the Duma. 
These were the Otzovists (from the Russian word "otozvat", meaning 
recall), and they were hampering the Party's efforts to use the Duma 
rostrum and build up support in the semi-legal and legal working-class 
organisations. In other words, the Otzovists were destroying the Party's 
ties with the masses, renouncing leadership of the masses and working 
to convert the Party into a sectarian organisation incapable of marshal- 
ling the forces for a new rise of the revolution. They distorted the very 
essence of revolutionary Marxist tactics, which call for adapting forms 
and methods of struggle to new situations without, however, losing sight 
of the Party's ultimate goal. The Otzovists were doing immense harm 
to the Party; they were weakening it, for sectarianism inevitably leads 
to isolation from the masses. 

Otzovism, Lenin stressed, was a departure from revolutionary 
Marxism, and therefore a departure from the principles of Bolshevism. 
Objectively, the Otzovists were leading the Party towards isolation from 
tnc masses and, consequently, towards its liquidation as the revolution- 

Af^ P f rty of the workin 3 class. Lenin described Otzovism as a caricature 
°t Bolshevism. 

The Party sent its representatives to the Duma in order that they 
In u . s ! its rostl ' um to advocate revolutionary demands and slogans, 
tie COnditions of rampant reaction, when extra-parliamentary opportuni- 

s t or propaganda, agitation and organisation had been reduced to 
of t}, tlCa % nil, it was of the utmost political importance to make use 
^Jhe^D uma tribune as a powerful means of mobilising the masses and 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 15, p. 454. 


winning them over to the side of the revolution. But the Otzovists were 
making it impossible for the Party to do that, and Lenin called for a 
relentless war against Otzovism. In his efforts to preserve the Party, 
he fought both varieties of Liquidationism, Right and Left. 

Lenin also had to fight Trotsky, who under the guise of "non- 
factionalism" was advocating centrism, or unity of revolutionaries and 
opportunists within a single party. Trotsky used the newspaper he 
published in Vienna to distort Bolshevism, falsify the history of the 
first Russian revolution and support the Liquidators. Trotsky refused to 
submit to the Central Committee, though he did everything he could 
to have his factional paper published on Party money. This was outright 
duplicity. Lenin branded it as such and opposed any support of Trotsky's 
paper. In an indignant letter to the editors of the Central Party Orga: c 
wrote: "Trotsky behaves like a most despicable careerist and faction 
ist. . .", either he submits to the Central Committee, or "a break v th 
this scoundrel and his exposure in the Central Organ. He pays lip 
service to the Party but behaves worse than any other factionalist'V 

A turning-point in the life of the Party at that period was the 1 th 
All-Russia R.S.D.L.P. Conference in Paris, December 21-27, 1908 
(January 3-9, 1909), which Lenin attended as a representative of the 
R.S.D.L.P. Central Committee. The keynote was the struggle on two 
fronts-against the Menshevik Liquidators and the "Left" opportuni sts- 
the Otzovists and the Ultimatumists.** The central point was Renin's 
report, 'The Present Situation and the Tasks of the Party", on which 
the conference adopted a resolution drafted by Lenin. The conference 
resolutely condemned Liquidationism. 

Lenin attached exceptional importance to the conference resolutions, 
which defined the Party's revolutionary line and organisational p' cj 
for the entire period of reaction. They revealed, he said, the causes and 
implications of the crisis in the Party and indicated the way out. They 
gave an analysis of class relationships and of tsarism's new policy, 
formulated the immediate aim of proletarian struggle, assessed the 
lessons of the revolution and shaped Party tactics in the light of these 
lessons, laid down a clear line on the relation between legal and illegal 
organisations, emphasised the need to utilise the Duma and draw up 
precise directives for the Duma group based on the criticism ol its 

The conference resolutions were approved by a plenary meeti 
the R.S.D.L.P. Central Committee and published in a Central Comm : tee 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works. 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. 34, p. 349. 
** Ultinmtumis27i-a variety of Otzovism, from which it differed only in fcrin. 
The Ultimatumists failed to appreciate the need for painstaking work to help the 
Social-Democratic deputies overcome their mistakes and adopt a consistent revolt" 
tionary line. They proposed that the Social-Democratic Duma members be pi 
ed with an ultimatum- either they fully submit to the decisions of the Party Ccr.tra* 
Committee or be recalled from the Duma. 


Statement. Taking the conference decisions as their basis, Lenin and 
j llS associates launched a decisive struggle against the enemies of the 
party. Plekhanov also came out against Liquidationism, and this Lenin 
regarded as a victory for Bolshevism. 

The struggle for the Party grew more and more bitter. In 1909 the 
Otzovists organised a "Party" school in Capri. In reality it was the 
directing centre of their faction, but by advertising it as an "all-Party 
school", they were able to attract several workers from Russia. Gradu- 
ally, however, these workers saw through the theories expounded by 
Bogdanov, Lunacharsky, Alexinsky and Co. and realised that this was 
not a genuine Party school. They invited Lenin to deliver a series of 
lectures in Capri. In his reply Lenin exposed the anti-Party nature of 
the school, declined the invitation to lecture and invited the Capri 
students to come to Paris, 

Lenin's indignation knew no bounds. In his articles he denounced 
Bogdanov and his group as adventurers who had enticed a few workers 
into their school by fraud and deception. In attacking the factionalists, 
Lenin emphasised: "Nothing could be more harmful now than treating 
them with kid gloves. A complete break and war waged with more 
energy than against the Mensheuiks." 

It was not long before a struggle flared up in the Capri school between 
Leninist Bolsheviks and Bogdanov supporters. Six of the students, 
including one of the school's organisers, the worker Vilonov (Mikhail), 
were expelled for supporting Lenin. They came to Paris, where Lenin 
warmly welcomed them, followed later, when the school closed, by the 
rest of the students. Lenin lectured on "The Present Situation and Our 
Tasks" and "Stolypin's Agrarian Policy", He had long talks with the 
students, patiently helping them to understand the anti-Party substance 
of Otzovism and winning them over to the Bolshevik position. 

In the fight to preserve and strengthen the R.S.D.L.P. Lenin devoted 
much attention to the activities of Party organisations in Russia and 
training of Party cadres, especially from among the workers. He 
believed that the worker groups in the big industrial centres, which 
were gradually taking over direction of Party activities, should be 
given the utmost attention. Everything should be done, he said, to build 
pp strong Party cadres within these groups, for only on that basis would 
it be possible to preserve and strengthen the Party. Lenin himself 
devoted much energy and care to training Party functionaries with 
Working-class background. Meetings with workers gave him the greatest 
Pleasure. That was evident from his animation, from the warm sparkle 
3 ft his eyes. 

A meeting of the enlarged editorial board of Proletary was held in 
Jaris to rally the Bolshevik forces against the Otzovists. On the eve of 
the meeting Lenin conferred with members of the editorial board and 
representatives of local Social-Democratic organisations and explained 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. ed.. Vol. 34, pp. 351-52. 


the situation that had arisen in the Party. The editorial board meeting 
began on June 8 (21), 1909, and proceeded under Lenin's leadership. 
He made the report on Otzovism and Ultimatumism, The resolution 
adopted by the meeting on this subject exposed the great harm Otzo 
and Ultimatumist propaganda was causing the working-class movement 
and Social-Democratic activity, and the menace it created to Party unity. 
The editorial board meeting declared in its resolution that Otzovism 
and Ultimatumism had nothing in common with Bolshevism, w< 
outright deviations from revolutionary Marxism and should be resolutely 
combated as such by all Bolsheviks. 

Lenin also delivered a report on the tasks o£ the Bolsheviks in the 
Duma, emphasising that the Duma was an important propaga a 
vehicle. More attention, he said, should be paid to popularising the 
aims of the socialist revolution and explaining the basic ideas and 
principles of scientific socialism. The Duma group must hold aloft the 
banner of the revolution, the proletarian banner. Together with the 
Party it must actively intervene on all issues of labour legislation, show 
up the hypocrisy and fraud of social-reformism, explain the class nature 
of the bourgeois political parties, expose the counter-revolutionary 
liberal bourgeoisie and the vacillation of the petty-bourgeois democr s. 

The meeting urged maximum use of all legal opportunities. This 
should not, however, be regarded as an aim in itself; it should always 
be closely connected with the objects and methods of the Party's ilk al 
revolutionary activities. 

The Bolsheviks' fight for the Party and the Party spirit, the meeting 
declared, must concentrate on all-round active support of the Central 
Committee and the Central Organ against the Liquidators and all 
varieties of revisionism, and on co-operation with other groups that 
support the Party's line. 

The meeting described the Capri school as the centre of a new hi ! < 
away group pursuing its own factional objectives on the ideoloc cal 
and political fronts. This was obvious from the fact that the school id 
been initiated and organised by Otzovists, Ultimatumists and "God- 
builders". The enlarged editorial board therefore announced that "the 
Bolsheviks do not and cannot bear any responsibility for the scho i". 
Bogdanov, its organiser, was expelled from the Party. 

Lenin's struggle against the Liquidators, Otzovists, Machians and 
"God-builders" met with strong support in Party organisations in Russia* 

Lenin was uncompromising also in opposing the sectarians and the 
"Lefts", who used revolutionary phraseology as a cover for their 
opportunism. Fighting on two fronts, the Bolsheviks strengthened I eJ£ 
ranks and upheld their revolutionary policy and tactics. Lenin wrote 
later that after the defeat of the first Russian revolution "the Bolsheviks 
effected the most orderly retreat, with the least loss to their 'army" 
with its core best preserved, with the least significant splits (in respect 
of profundity and irremediability), with the least demoralisation, a»» 
in the best condition to resume the work on the broadest scale and 

J 74 

the most correct and energetic manner. The Bolsheviks achieved this 
only because they ruthlessly exposed and expelled the revolutionary 
phrase-mongers, who refused to understand that one had to retreat, that 
one had to know how to retreat, and that one had absolutely to learn 
how to work legally in the most reactionary parliaments, in the most 
reactionary trade unions, co-operative societies, insurance societies and 
similar organisations."* 

After the Proletary editorial board meeting the family spent some 
time at a cheap but fairly comfortable pension (found through a news- 
paper advertisement) in the little village of Bombon (Seine-et-Marne 
Department). There were frequent walks in the surrounding countryside 
and cycling trips to the Clamart woods about fifteen kilometres away. 

Lenin returned to Paris towards the end of September, back to his 
rigorous work schedule: up at eight, breakfast, the Bibliothequc 
Nationale till the reading-room closed for lunch, back home at two for 
the midday meal and after that work at home, usually late into the 
night. Unlike Geneva, where the library was within walking distance, 
he had to make long bicycle journeys, and this was exhausting. 

Lenin was much sought after as a speaker, lecturing to widely 
different audiences on the situation in Russia, the Paris Commune and 
other subjects. In the latter part of October 1909, he addressed a 
gathering of Social-Democrats in Liege, Belgium, on the position in the 
Party and gave a public lecture on "The Tdcology of the Counter- 
Revolutionary Bourgeoisie". One of the audience described the lecture 
(in a letter to Kiev intercepted by the tsarist police) as "excellent in 
content and delivery. Now I understand why Lenin enjoys such 
influence, affection even, among wide sections of the Party. He is a 
splendid propagandist, brilliant diplomat, profound theoretician, shrewd 
practical leader, equally effective before a university audience and a 
workers' meeting and understood and appreciated by the masses -in 
snort, the embodiment of everything one expects in a Party leader." 

In this period Lenin invested much time and effort in exposing and 
combating counter-revolutionary liberalism. This was all the more 
necessary in view of the appearance of Vekhi (Landmarks), a collection 
of articles by such recognised spokesmen of the Cadet Party as Berdyaev, 
Bulgakov and Struve. Cringing and fawning upon the tsarist govern- 
ment, these Cadet ideologists declared with cynical frankness: "We... 
should . . . bless this [tsarist] government which alone with its bayonets 
and prisons still protects us from popular fury." 

In his article "Concerning Vekhi" Lenin described the collection as 
an encyclopaedia of liberal renegacy. Its publication, he wrote, was proof 
J* a complete break between Russian liberalism and the Russian 
^Deration movement. Having renounced the underlying ideas of 
«emocracy, "the liberal bourgeoisie has decisively turned away from 

* V. I, Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 3, p. 381. 
** Issvestia No. 238, October 11, 1935. 


defence of popular rights to defence of institutions hostile to the 
people".* And Lenin branded the Cadet symposium a "torrent o£ rev. - 
tionary mud poured on the head of democracy".* * 

Counter-revolutionary liberalism and its ideology was the subject of 
a public lecture Lenin gave in November 1909 at the Science Sod 
on the Rue Danton. The hall was filled to capacity. There were ma y 
Menshcvik and Socialist-Revolutionary hecklers among the audience, 
but they were soon silenced by the iron logic of Lenin's arguments and 
his clear, lucid delivery. The meeting adopted a resolution propos I 
by Lenin. 

The fight Lenin and the Bolsheviks waged against the Liquidate s 
took on fresh force at the plenary meeting of the Party Central Com- 
mittee in Paris in January 1910. The atmosphere at the meeting v s 
tense. Lenin later wrote to Maxim Gorky of the "long plenum". , . 
"three weeks of nerve-racking torment, a veritable hell!" To such 
important and crucial factors as the need to purge the Social-Dcmoc ic 
movement of Liquidationism and Otzovism, Lenin wrote, to the 
incredible difficulties facing the Party and Social-Democratic activity 
generally, the plenum added conciliatory sentiments, enmity towards the 
Bolshevik centre for its relentless ideological struggle, Menshcvik 
intrigue and Menshcvik attempts to stir up trouble. Zinoviev, Kamc , 
Rykov and Dubrovinsky and Nogin, displayed a dangerous tender: v, 
advocating joint work with the Liquidators. Lenin said of these 
conciliators that they had always been a pawn in the hands of i he 
Liquidators, and for all practical purposes, were working to liquk 
the illegal revolutionary party. At the plenum the conciliators joi id 
forces with Trotsky to put through anti-Leninist decisions. Trotsky d 
his supporters succeeded in getting Menshcvik Liquidators appoir ted 
to the central Party bodies in opposition to Lenin's proposal to appoint 
pro-Party Mensheviks. They also succeeded in securing a decision Lo 
stop publication of Proletary and give financial support to Trots' 
paper, of which Kamencv was made one of the editors, represent g 
the Central Committee. 

Lenin put all his energy into the fight against the conciliators and 
their ally Trotsky. His draft resolution on the position in the Pa 
condemned both Liquidationism and Otzovism, and it was only or 
insistence that the meeting branded them as manifestations of bourgeois 
influence on the proletariat. Its resolution said both were dangerous 
deviations from Marxism. But again, the conciliators and Tr: s- 
kyites insisted that Liquidationism and Otzovism should not be 
mentioned by name: the resolution merely mentioned the "two devia- 

The struggle became sharper still after the Central Committee plci 1 >' 
meeting. The Menshcvik Liquidators stooped to outright foul play. The 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 16, p. 126. 
** Ibid., p. 129. 


Otzovists were provoking all manner of squabbles: "We are in the very 
centre of all these squabbles," Lenin wrote. "Emigre life now is a 
hundred times worse than it was before the revolution. Emigre life and 
squabbling are inseparable. 

"But the squabbling can be dismissed-nine-tenths of it takes place 
abroad; squabbling is a minor detail. The thing is that the Party, the 
Social-Democratic movement, are developing and going forward in face 
of all the hellish difficulties of the present situation/'* Lenin declared 

It took much effort on Lenin's part to overcome the extremely 
damaging conciliatory decisions of the Central Committee plenum. But 
towards the end of March 1910, Lenin could record with a feeling of 
satisfaction (in a letter to N. Vilonov) that the conciliatory and bogus 
unity mist was beginning to dispel. 

The Central Committee plenum elected Lenin to the editorial board 
of Sotsial-Demokrat, the Central Party Organ, now published abroad. 
Lenin used its pages for a resolute struggle against Liquidationism, 
Otzovism and Trotskyism. In fact, his articles were the central feature 
of Sotsial-Demokrat, and at times there were as many as four in a 
single issue. His articles-a total of more than 80 were published- were 
an important factor in saving the illegal Party and in strengthening its 
unity and ties with the masses. 

But work on the paper was hard, for at every step Lenin had to 
counteract the opposition of the other editors, Martov and Dan. He was 
adamant in upholding a consistently Bolshevik policy against conciliatory 
tendencies. The atmosphere became especially strained following the 
January Central Committee plenary meeting, and at one time Lenin was 
on the verge of resigning from the editorial board. Martov brazenly 
announced he would begin "military operations"; together with Dan he 
began an anti-Party campaign of intrigue against the Bolsheviks and 
the pro-Party Mensheviks. 

Lenin stood for co-operation with Plekhanov and his pro-Party 
Menshevik followers, who were opposed to Liquidationism. But he 
emphasised that it was purely a matter of joint struggle against 
liquidationism, and that there could be no question of glossing over 
the political differences with the pro-Party Mensheviks. 

Against opportunism in the Second International. Throughout all 
these years Lenin fought opportunism in the Second International, 
wnose leaders continued to support the Mensheviks. The two chief 
Jferman Social -Democratic publications, Neue Zeit and Vonuarts, threw 
A a £ ; olumns °P en t0 calumnious Menshevik attacks on the Bolsheviks. 

the Mensheviks were only too ready to engage in such calumny 
using every means to discredit the Bolsheviks in the eyes of the West 
European Socialist parties. 

In October 1908, Lenin went to Brussels for a meeting of the Intei- 
^ona| Socialist Bureau, at which he consistently opposed the oppor- 
* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ, cd.. Vol. 34, pp. 368, 369. 


tunists. On the eve of the meeting he attended an international peace 
rally. Next day, when the I.S.B. met, he criticised Kautsky's resolutv 
in admitting the British Independent Labour Party to the International. 
While supporting its application, Lenin emphasised that, contrary 
Kautsky's contention, it was not really independent of the bourgeois 
and was not really committed to an independent class policy. He also 
argued against admitting the Zionist socialists to the Russian section 
of the International. 

The International Socialist Bureau held its eleventh meeting in 
November 1909 and discussed two major questions, the International 
Socialist Congress in Copenhagen in 1910 and the split in the Dutch 
Social-Democratic Labour Party, the result of a long struggle betv. i - 
the opportunists and Marxists. The opportunists sought rapprochement 
with the liberals, and had abandoned the Party's old, Marxist, programme. 
Speaking on this question Lenin insisted that the Dutch Marxists be 
admitted to the International. 

Lenin closely followed and vigorously combated the growing menace 
of world war. He exposed imperialist hypocrisy, the tactics of concealing 
v/ar preparations behind a barrage of diplomatic talk. An ardent 
champion of peace, he urged the workers' parties to oppose militarism 
and strain every effort to prevent war. He stressed the need for 
intensified anti-militarist activity and the promotion of internalio al 
solidarity. In his article "Bellicose Militarism and the Anti-Mil itarist 
Tactics of Social -Democracy", Lenin sharply criticised Vollmar, Noske 
and the other German Right-wing Social-Democrats for contending that, 
since militarism and war were inevitable concomitants of capitalism, 
there was no point in combating them. That line of argument, Lenin 
showed, led to nationalism, to defence of one's own capitalist "father- 

That opportunist policy of the Social-Democratic Right wing, it will 
be recalled, did lead to social-chauvinism in the First World War. 

In other articles, "Inflammable Material in World Politics", "Eve its 
in the Balkans and in Persia", Lenin denounced the predatory imperialist 
policy of the European colonialists in Asia. Pointing to their suppres 
of the national liberation movement in Persia, India and other 
countries, he showed "what brutes the highly 'civilised' European 
'politicians', men who have passed through the high school of constitu- 
tionalism, can turn into when it comes to a rise in the mass struggle 
against capital and the capitalist colonial system, i.e., a system of 
enslavement, plunder and violence".*' Lenin called for a struggle against 
colonial oppression and colonial policy: "Down with all colonial policy, 
down with the whole policy of intervention and capitalist struggle foi 
the conquest of foreign lands and foreign populations, for new privi- 
leges, new markets, control of the Straits, etc.!" 

In the summer of 1910, Lenin vacationed with his family at Pornic on 
the shores o f the Bay of Biscay. They lived in the home of a customs- 
* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 15, p. 182. 


house watchman, and Lenin became friendly with the family, especially 
after the watchman's wife, a laundress, told him of her war with the 
Catholic priests, who were trying to induce her to send her little boy 
to a monastery school. 

Towards the end of the summer Lenin went to Copenhagen for the 
Eighth Congress of the Second International. This was the second 
international congress he attended. On his first day in the Danish capital 
he took part in a meeting of the Congress Bureau and, as at the Stuttgart 
Congress, he convened a conference of Left-wing delegates. This was 
a further step towards uniting and organising the revolutionary element 
in the international labour movement. 

One of the chief items on the Congress agenda was socialist policy 
towards the co-operative movement, an issue in which there were sharp 
differences between the revolutionary and revisionist trends. Two basic 
policies emerged from the debate, one expressive of proletarian class 
struggle, and the other of petty-bourgeois opportunism. Exponents of 
the revolutionary policy regarded the co-operatives as weapons of the 
class struggle, as one of its auxiliary means, and denned the conditions 
under which the co-operatives could perform that function effectively 
and not remain merely commercial enterprises. The petty-bourgeois line 
was to play down the role of the co-operatives in the proletarian class 

As a member of the congress co-operative committee, Lenin drafted 
a resolution clearly and comprehensively denning the role and tasks 
of the co-operatives in the class struggle. Lenin's resolution was made 
the basis of the draft submitted to the Congress by the R.S.D.L.P. 

The Russian delegation was dominated by opportunists, and Lenin 
had to wage a vigorous struggle against them. In their rabid hatred of 
the Bolsheviks and their leader, the Menshcviks even accused Lenin, 
at a delegation meeting, of trying to "wreck the Party". When a 
Bolshevik delegate asked how one man could wreck the Party, Dan 
replied: "He devotes twenty-four hours to the revolution, has no other 
thoughts save thoughts of the revolution, even sees revolution in his 
sleep. What can you do with such a man?"*" 

A bitter enemy of Lenin and the Bolsheviks, Dan unwittingly spoke 
toe truth. For Lenin devoted all his energies to the victory of the 
revolution, to the establishment of proletarian dictatorship, to the 
triumph of socialism and the happiness of the working people. 

In the course of the Congress, Lenin again drew closer to Plckhanov. 
■J ft ey were united in a common effort to preserve the illegal Marxist 
Party against the Liquidators, Trotskyites and revisionists of every 
tnpe. Together they rebutted Trotsky's slanderous writings in the 
erman press, in which he gave a false picture of the situation in the 

p. 49 Remmisc ^es of Lenin, Russ, ed., 1925, edited by N. Meshcheryakov, Vol. II, 


J 79 

R.S.D.L.P., claiming that the Party was in a state of confusion and 
disintegration. Together they vigorously protested against these m; 
cious fabrications. In a letter to the German Social-Democratic leadership 
they exposed Trotsky's article in Vonvatts, and after the Congress Lenin 
wrote a long article, "The Historical Meaning of the Inner-Party Struggle 
in Russia", in which he effectively refuted all Trotsky's lies. 

Using the false Liquidationist arguments and pleading independence 
of any faction, Trotsky claimed that the Bolshevik-Menshevik struggle 
was for influence "on a politically immature proletariat". He distorted 
Bolshevism and the history of the Russian revolution. That was 
of his politics. Lenin wrote: "One day Trotsky plagiarises from the 
ideological stock-in-trade of one faction; the next day he plagiarises 
from that of another, and therefore declares himself to be standing 
above both factions."* And to the Trotsky and Martov version of a 
backward and immature Russian proletariat, Lenin opposed irrefutable 
facts. The proletariat, he stressed, had won ior itself the role of hegen; >g 
in the battle for freedom and democracy as a precondition of its fight 
for socialism. It had won for all of Russia's oppressed and exploited 
classes the ability to wage a revolutionary mass struggle. Mankind had 
never made any real progress without such a straggle. 

Lenin continued his tense work in Copenhagen, visiting the public 
library every day before and after the Congress sittings. He v. as 
chiefly interested in Danish agriculture and made a careful study of 
agricultural statistics, which he later used in a number of articles. On 
the closing day of the Congress he signed a message to Tina Kirk, 
the Bulgarian revolutionary, on behalf of a group of Marxist delegates. 

In mid-September, Lenin went to Stockholm to meet his mother. 
During the revolution they had met in St. Petersburg, Kuokkala and 
at Sablino, where Maria Alcxandrovna was then staying. That was 
nearly three years ago, Maria Alexandrovna was now 75 and the trip 
to Stockholm was not an easy one for her. Lenin awaited her arr v'.l 
with great emotion. He found suitable lodgings and took pains to m ks 
his mother as comfortable as possible. The mornings were usually spent 
in work at the library, but the afternoons were wholly devoted to his 
mother; they often took walks in the city and its environs. 

In Stockholm Lenin addressed several Social-Democratic meetings on 
the International Socialist Congress in Copenhagen and the situation in 
the Russian Party. Maria Alexandrovna attended one of the lectures, 
arranged by the Stockholm Bolshevik group. This was the first time 
she heard her son speak in public, "and it seemed to me," wrote Lenin's 
sister, Maria Ilyinichna who accompanied her, "that listening to him 
f Lenin] she was reminded of the speech of her other son, Mexatidei 
Ilyich, at his trial. That was evident from her changed expression." 

The day of parting came. Lenin stood on the pier wistfully watcbin? 
his mother board the ship. He could not go abroad since it was a 

^vTlTLenin, Collected Works. Vol. 16, p. 391. 
** Central Party Archives of Institute of Marxism-Leninism. 


Russian ship and he ran the risk of being arrested. It was a sad farewell, 
for Lenin had a feeling that this was probably the last time he was to 
se e his mother. And so it was; Maria Alexandrovna died in 1916. She 
did not live to see her son carry his great cause to victory. 

Towards the end of September 1910 Lenin returned to Paris. He 
broke the journey in Copenhagen, where he delivered a lecture on 
the International Congress. 

In those difficult years after the defeat of the first Russian revolution 
Lenin and his associates protected the Party against Liquidationist 
attempts to destroy it, exposed the phrase-mongers, upheld and further 
developed Marxist philosophy and steeled the Party, preparing it for 
the new offensive. Lenin gave the Party a clear perspective in the 
struggles ahead, defined its tasks and tactics in the new conditions. With 
unshakable faith in victory, he taught the proletariat to remain true to, 
and to develop and strengthen its revolutionary traditions, to educate 
the masses in the spirit of these traditions, so they can be carried 
forward to the new, inevitable rise of the revolution. The Russian 
proletariat, Lenin emphasised, was guided "not by 'vague hopes', but 
by the scientifically grounded conviction that the revolution will come 

Chapter Seven 


Despite everything, our vau<r. \~> fitlvanrini:. \ml lln- * 1 'i"k- 
rts' party is bcin<r built, a rcvohitiunary Social-Dcmnrrdtic 
parly standing opposed to the liberal renegades and the 
Liquidators. Things will look brighter for m &»> 

As Lenin had foreseen, the triumph of the Stolypin reaction was 
shortlived. The summer of 1910 saw a revival of the working-class 
movement, and in the autumn there were more frequent strikes in St. 
Petersburg, Moscow, Warsaw and other industrial centres. 

Offensive against tsarism. The proletariat was the first to take the 
offensive against tsarism-the lessons of the 1905-07 revolution made or 
heightened class consciousness. The industrial revival meant an increase 
in the number of workers and, what was of exceptional important 
greater degree of concentration: over half of the industrial labour force 
was employed in factories with 500 or more workers each, as against 
only about one-third in the United States. Russia, in fact, had the worlds 
highest concentration of industrial workers. And though the workup 
class was comparatively small numerically, its economic and political 
conditions and militancy, the result of Bolshevik revolutionary activity 

and organisation, made it the decisive force of the liberation movement 
against tsarism and capitalism. 

The aims of the bourgeois-democratic revolution had not been achieved, 
and the maturing of a new revolutionary crisis, a new revolution, Lenin 
pointed out, was therefore inevitable. The proletariat would again give 
leadership to the entire people in the battle to carry the democratic 
revolution to completion, in the battle of all the working people, all 
the exploited, against the oppressors and exploiters. 

And the selfless struggle waged by the working class was an example 
to the peasantry and the other democratic forces, bringing them into 
the fight for freedom. The peasants replied to Stolypin's agrarian reform 
by setting fire to manor-houses and kulak farms. 

Strike struggles, peasant actions, worker and student demonstrations 
when Tolstoi died in November 1910 -these were all part of the revival 
of the revolutionary and democratic forces, clear signs of a change in 
mass sentiment. Over 100,000 participated in the strike struggles of 
1911, twice as many as in 1910. Mass meetings in the working-class 
districts of St, Petersburg demanded the release of the Social-Democratic 
members of the Second Duma, sentenced to penal servitude in 1907 
on trumped-up charges. Lenin appealed to socialists in all countries to 
support that demand, and protest meetings were held in Germany, 
France, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Austria, the United 
States and other countries. 

The Party's chief task, as formulated by Lenin, was to muster all 
the revolutionary forces, with the working class at their head, and 
prepare for the new revolution against the autocracy. The decisive part 
was to be played by the working-class party. And the accomplishment 
of this momentous task depended on the Party's mass ideological and 
organisational work, its illegal activity, its ability to utilise every legal 
opportunity, however slight, for rallying the masses around the 
revolutionary banner and the militant proletarian slogans. 

But the position within the Party remained tense. There was a bitter 
struggle between the Bolsheviks, on the one hand, and the Liquidators, 
Trotskyites and conciliators, on the other. The three Menshevik 
Liquidator C.C. members working in Russia refused to join the Central 
Committee Russian Bureau. They even proclaimed the existence of the 
Central Committee to be "harmful". With the arrest of its Bolshevik 
members, the Russian Bureau ceased to function; the Party in Russia 
^as left without a central leadership; its very existence was in jeopardy, 
uie strengthening of the Party became the chief task, and to it Lenin 
devoted all his energies. 

Lenin intensified his ideological struggle against the Liquidators, who 
pd now completely renounced political struggle, the proletariat's 
eading role in the revolution, its class positions and defence of its 
Vl tal interests. 

To counteract the Liquidators the Bolsheviks strengthened their bloc 
Wl th the Plekhanov pro-Party Menshcviks and began publication in 


Paris of the popular newspaper Rabochaya Gazcta {Workers' Gazette), 
the first issue of which appeared on October 30 (November 12), 1910. 
Lenin urged all Bolshevik groups in Russia and abroad to rally around 
the new paper and begin preparation for meetings and conferences that 
would re-establish and strengthen the Party. 

"Zvezda". The Longjumeau Parly school. The new upsurge of the 
revolutionary movement in Russia, Lenin pointed out, confronted the 
Bolsheviks with the all-important task of re-establishing the legal 
Marxist press. And the Bolsheviks accomplished that task, after 
surmounting numberless difficulties, by starting publication in St. 
Petersburg of a weekly newspaper, Zvezda {The Star). The first issue 
appeared on December 16 (29), 1910. N. Poletaycv (Third Duma 
member), V. Bonch-Bruyevich, M. Olminsky, N. Baturin, Dcmyan 
Bedny, K. Yeremeyev and V. Shcigunov, an old associate of Lenin in 
the St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the 
Working Class, had an active part in organising and running the paper. 

Lenin invited Gorky to contribute and Zvezda published seven of his 
famous Tales ot Italy. "I am very very glad," Lenin wrote Gorky, "that 
you are helping Zvezda. We are having a devilish hard job with - 
internal and external and financial difficulties are immense-but 
we are managing so far."* 

At the same time, in December 1910, Lenin arranged for the publica- 
tion in Moscow of a legal Bolshevik magazine Mysl {Thought) as a 
means of intensifying the struggle against the legal Liquidator journals 
and providing a medium for the Marxist training of front-rank workers 
and intellectuals. Among the chief contributors were V. Vorovsky, 
M. Olminsky and I. Skvortsov-Stepanov. Lenin's articles in Zvezda and 
Mysl (there were more than fifty in all) set the policy of both publica- 
tions. Lenin was in constant touch with the editors, criticised mistakes, 
particularly in the early issues of Zvezda, and under his leader - - 
Zvezda became a militant Marxist paper that propagated the pro- 
gramme and tactics of the illegal proletarian party and served as the 
legal Bolshevik centre in Russia, 

Among the Lenin articles it printed were the well-known "Certain 
Features of the Historical Development of Marxism" and "Differences 
in the European Labour Movement". Mysl carried Lenin's important 
article "Those Who Would Liquidate Us". In all of them Lenin gave 
an exceptionally profound and lucid description of the creative nature 
of revolutionary Marxism. Engcls's classical formula that Marxism V - s 
not a dogma, but a guide to action, Lenin remarked, expressed the m - it 
profound and distinctive feature of Marxism, its intrinsic projection i to 
the future, its creative revolutionary spirit. Some were inclined to 
overlook this aspect of Marxism, but to do so was to "turn Marxism 
into something one-sided, distorted and lifeless; we deprive it of its 
life blood; we undermine its basic theoretical foundations-dialectics. 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35, p. 22. 


the doctrine of historical development, all-embracing and full of contra- 
dictions' we undermine its connection with the definite practical tasks 
of the epoch, which may change with every new turn of history".* 

Like all his works, Lenin's articles of this period are outstanding 
examples of creative Marxism, illustrative of the constant development 
of Marxist theory, to which dogmatism and stagnation are utterly 

Of special significance in this context is "Differences in the European 
Labour Movement". In it, Lenin discloses the chief causes of the 
differences over theory and tactics within the international labour 
movement. For several decades there had been an incessant struggle 
between two basic deviations from Marxism: revisionism, opportunism, 
reformism, on the one hand, and anarchism, anarcho-syndicalism and 
anarcho-socialism, on the other. Both deviations, Lenin demonstrated, 
stemmed from the very nature of capitalist society. 

The socialist movement attracts to its ranks, particularly in periods 
of rapid growth, ever new strata of the working people, whose training 
is inevitably accompanied by "waverings in the sphere of theory and 
tactics, by repetitions of old mistakes, by a temporary reversion to 
antiquated views and antiquated methods, and so forth".** 

In countries where backward economic relationships hamper the 
development of capitalism and the proletarian class struggle some 
supporters of the labour movement "assimilate only certain aspects of 
Marxism, only certain parts of the new world outlook, or individual 
slogans and demands . 

Another source of differences, Lenin pointed out, is the dialectical 
nature ot social development, which proceeds in contradictions and 
through contradictions. And he emphasised that it is "Marxism, the 
theory of dialectical materialism, that is able to encompass these 
contradictions ot living reality, of the living history of capitalism and 
the working-class movement".— But that theory has to be mastered, 
one h as to learn to apply it. Individuals or groups that have not mastered 
ZI^aV T n ^^ e * a 9gerate, elevate to a one-sided theory, to a 
io* a i system o£ tactlc s. now one and now another feature of capital- 

^^r *^ n ^ n0W ° ne an , d now anothcr ' lesson ' of this d evcl- 
S S«?V They accept, for instance, only "slow evolution" or 

revolutionary leaps . 

hJ* He Z eU !F S V 110 l abour nioveme nt are due also to some change of 
In m \ y ■ ? g SSCS in 3 cncral and &e bourgeoisie in particular, 
n most countries the bourgeoisie devises two systems of rule, two methods 
fne whip and the carrot-of maintaining its domination: the method 
^oirect, unconcealed coercion, and the method of "liberalism", of 

I »* Vl L Lenin ' Collected Works, Vol. 17, p. 39 

*** X - - 1 ; Lenin ' Coll ^ed Works, Vol. 16, p. 348. 
». Ibid. 

w* ibid. 

*** Ibid., p. 349. 


individual concessions. And not infrequently these methods succeed each 
other or are applied in various combinations. 

The growth of anarchism in the working-class movement is due to 
one-sided reaction by definite groups of socialists to the method f 
direct coercion. Anarchists of every variety reject "petty work" 
systematic, painstaking activities among the masses, especially utilisa- 
tion of the parliamentary platform. In practice, this anarchist tactic 
amounts to waiting for momentous revolutionary events, "along with 
inability to muster the forces which create great events". 

In some of the more developed capitalist countries the bourgeoisie 
resorts to a policy of "reforms against revolution". One-sided reaction 
to this "liberalism" and "bourgeois reformism" breeds opportunism in 
the movement. For the opportunists accept reforms, which are fully 
compatible with the capitalist system, as "partial realisation of socialism", 
bow to bourgeois "legality" and reject revolution for transition, from 
capitalism to socialism. 

Both Right opportunists and anarchists, Lenin wrote in conclusion, 
"hinder that which is most important and most urgent, namely, to unite 
the workers in big, powerful and properly functioning organisations, 
capable of functioning well under all circumstances, permeated wttl 
the spirit of the class struggle, clearly realising their aims and trained 
in the true Marxist world outlook".* 

Today the Communist and Workers' Parties draw many lessons from 
this article, in which Lenin analysed the root causes of differences in 
the European labour movement. And the most important of these lesions 
is the need to master Marxism-Leninism, all the forms of struggle and 
organisation of the labour movement, apply them in various combina- 
tions and change them in good time, the need to wage an irreconci ble 
struggle against opportunism in all its forms and lay bare not only its 
class roots, but also the fallacious thinking that leads to departure 
from Marxism. 

Lenin devoted much time and attention to the training of Party cadres. 
In the spring of 1911 he organised a Party school at Longjumeau, a 
little village near Paris. The students, eighteen in number, were workers 
drawn from Party organisations in the big industrial centres of Russia^ 
St. Petersburg, Moscow, Sormovo, Yekatcrinoslav, Nikolaycv, the Donv 
brow mining area (Poland), Baku, Tiflis and others. Most of the students 
were Bolsheviks, but there were also pro-Party Mcnsheviks and one 

Before the opening of the school Lenin discussed with the group the 
Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels and in the school gave 
29 lectures on political economy and 12 each on the agrarian guestipB 
and the theory and practice of socialism in Russia. At the request of the 
students, he gave three additional lectures on the materialist intei pre' 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol, 16, p. 349. , 
** Vperyod-iste-Oizovisls grouped around the newspaper Vperyod, publish 
from 1910 to 1917. 


tation of history and a talk on the political situation and position within 
the Party, His lectures often took the form of animated discussion in 
which all eighteen students participated, showering Lenin with questions 
and answering the questions put by Lenin. In the course of the discussion 
Lenin would tactfully, sometimes by a single word or remark, correct 
one or another of the students. He taught them to analyse problems 
and trained them in the habit of independent and systematic study. 

The school was in session for four months. Three of the students, 
G. Orjonikidze, I, Schwarz and B, Breslav, left to take up illegal work 
in Russia before the end of the course and the rest followed when the 
school closed. In Russia they came to be known as "Leninists" and were 
proud of the name. The Longjumeau school, organised and directed by 
Lenin, was the forerunner of the Bolshevik Party schools and Communist 
universities founded in later years. 

The Prague Conference. In May 1911, Lenin took steps to restore the 
Party Central Committee. All the Bolshevik members of the C.C. 
working in Russia had been arrested, and Lenin therefore decided to 
call a conference of C.C. members living abroad. It was held in Paris 
on May 28-June 4 {June 10-17), 1911, and greatly expedited the 
convocation of a general Party conference. It appointed an Organising 
Committee to prepare for an all-Russia Party Conference. It instructed 
Orjonikidze, a close associate of Lenin, and two other active Party 
workers, Schwarz and Breslav, to contact Party groups in Central and 
South Russia and the Urals and, together with them, convene a 
conference which would set up a Russian Organising Committee. The 
R.O.C. was formed at the end of September 1911, at a conference in 
Baku, and immediately started energetic activity in various parts of 
the country. Lenin spoke highly of its work in his article "The Climax 
of the Party Crisis", proudly describing it as the Russian Party centre. 

In September 1911, Lenin attended a meeting of the International 
Socialist Bureau in Zurich at which he supported Rosa Luxemburg 
against the opportunist attitude of the German Social-Democrats in 
connection with the Reichstag elections. While in Switzerland he gave 
several lectures on "Stolypin and the Revolution", repeating the lecture 
jn Paris, Brussels, Antwerp, Liege and London in October and 

On December 14-17 (27-30), in Paris, he held a meeting of Bolshevik 
Qroups abroad, at which he delivered an extensive report on the position 
in the Party. The meeting approved the work of the R.O.C. in preparing 
9 Party conference. 

It was decided to hold the conference in Prague, The Czech comrades 
rendered valuable assistance in its organisation, providing the hall, 
pranging for the delegates to be put up with workers' families and, 
Jj general, displaying friendly concern for their safety and comfort. 
This was an expression of genuine proletarian solidarity. 

The overwhelming majority of the delegates were workers. With one 
of them, Yevgeny Onufriyev (Stcpan), a mechanic at the Obukhov 


Engineering Works in St, Petersburg and a member of the St. Petersburg 
Party Committee, Lenin shared a room in the home of a Czech worker 
In his reminiscences, Onufriycv speaks of the great consideration and 
tact Lenin always showed. He would often return late at night and, not 
to disturb Onufriyev, would tiptoe across the room, quietly undrc s 
and go to bed. If he came earlier, he would drink a cup of tea and re c 
for ten or fifteen minutes, pacing the room with his thumbs in t] e 
armholes of his waistcoat. Then he would tell his room-mate: "We 
Stepan, you go on with your reading and I'll do some work." 

Lenin met many of the delegates before the conference. He qucstier j 
them about their families, earnings, worker sentiments, what they 
expected of the conference. He acquainted them with the notes he had 
drawn up for the conference. Onufriyev later wrote: "Listening to Lenin, 
you had the impression that he had travelled the length and breadth 
of Russia, had been inside her factories and peasants' huts, so thoroughly 
did he know the mood and vital needs of the people." 

The Sixth All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. opened on Jam: ary 
5 (18), 1912, and held all its 23 sessions secretly because there > c 
Russian police agents in Prague too, in a modest hall in the Social- 
Democrat People's House at 7, Gibern Street (the building is now a 
Lenin Museum). 

Lenin directed all the work of the conference, was elected its chair- 
man, delivered the reports on all key questions, drafted the conference 
resolutions. He was the heart and soul of this history-making assembly. 

In his opening speech, Lenin warmly welcomed the delegates and 
outlined the basic tasks confronting them. In another speech, on c 
competence of the conference, he emphasised that all functioning Party 
organisations in Russia without exception had been invited to send c. e- 
gates, and the invitation had been declined only by those who did not 
want to help the Party. On Lenin's proposal, the conference proclaimed 
itself the supreme Party assembly, empowered to elect its central bo 
and re-establish the Party. It recognised the need to strengthen the r y 
of Social-Democratic workers of all the nationalities of Russia and 
instructed the Central Committee to strive for unity of all the nationality 
organisations affiliated to the R.S.D.L.P. 

The conference heard Lenin's report on the situation in Russia and the 
tasks of the Party and adopted a resolution framed by him. The report 
and the conference resolutions gave a comprehensive analysis of the 
political situation, underscored the growth of the revolutionary 
movement against tsarism and confirmed anew the Party's basic task-a 
democratic revolution headed by the proletariat with the peasantry 
following its leadership. 

An important feature of the Prague deliberations was the reports from 
Party organisations in Russia, to which Lenin attached the utmost 
importance, making copious notes throughout the five sessions at which 
these reports were heard. He was particularly interested in the number 
and composition of Party organisations, how long they had been in 


existence, how they were popularising and circulating the Bolshevik 
newspapers Sotsial-Dcmokrat and Zvezda and the magazine Mysl, in 
propaganda activity among workers, and joint work with pro-Party 
jylensheviks. And he was gratified to learn that everywhere energetic 
work was being conducted among revolutionary-minded workers to 
strengthen the illegal Party organisations and groups, and that every- 
where there was wide understanding of the need to combine illegal and 
legal forms of political activity. In his speech on the organisational 
question, Lenin emphasised able utilisation of the Duma platform and 
work in the trade unions and various legal workers' organisations, 
urging the establishment in each of these of an effectively functioning 
Party nucleus. 

The resolution on "Liquidationism and the Liquidator Group", drafted 
by Lenin, declared that Liquidationism had long since been denounced 
by the Party as a "manifestation of bourgeois influence upon the prole- 
tariat". For four years, the resolution said, the Liquidators had not only 
advocated revision of the R.S.D.L.P. programme and tactics, but denied 
the "importance of the illegal Party", using the legal press to discredit 
and abuse it. Their activities were directed against the proletarian Party, 
and their conduct, the resolution declared, "definitely placed them 
outside the Party". 

The Conference thus expelled the Liquidators from the proletarian 
Party. That was a historic decision-it eliminated all vestiges of formal 
unity between Bolsheviks and Mcnsheviks and formalised the inde- 
pendent existence of the Bolshevik Party founded by Lenin in 1903. 

The Prague Conference also condemned the crypto-Liquidators 
operating abroad- Golos* supporters, Trotskyites, Vperyod supporters, 
etc None of these had any contact with the revolutionary movement 
in Russia. 

The conference declared in its resolution: "Groups abroad that refuse 
to submit to the Russian centre of Social-Democratic activity, i.e., to 
the Central Committee, and cause disorganisation by communicating 
with Russia independently and ignoring the Central Committee, have 
no right to use the name of the R.S.D.L.P." 

Lenin reported on the activities of the International Socialist Bureau, 
^voting a large part of his speech to the struggle within the German 
social-Democratic Party in which, he said, things were heading towards 
a spht. Three distinct groups-centrist, opportunist and revolutionary- 
taken shape in the party. Lenin sharply criticised the opportunism 
« some members of the German delegation on the International 
Socialist Bureau. 

The Prague Conference adopted a number of important resolutions 
a international issues. It hailed the establishment of a republic in 

UtoL G t ° l0S ^fwJ-DeawJa-iifa {Social-Democrat Voice) -organ of the Menshevik 
la£i ■ P ubhsncd from February 1908 to December 1911, first in Geneva and 

<hli in Paris. 


China, emphasising the world-wide implications of the Chinese people's 
revolutionary struggle. It expressed complete sympathy with the lib - 
ation struggle of the Persian people, emphasised the common aims of 
the workers of Finland and Russia in the fight against tsarism and the 
counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie. Expressed in all these conference 
resolutions was the great principle of proletarian internationalism. 

One of the most important results of the Prague Conference was the 
election of a Central Committee which included Lenin, Goloshchokin, 
Orjonikidze and Spandaryan. The conference also empowered the 
Central Committee to co-opt other members, and at its first meeting, 
while the conference was still in progress, it co-opted J. Stalin and 
I. Belostotsky, and appointed A. Bubnov, M. Kalinin, Yelena Stasova, 
S. Shahumyan alternate members of the Central Committee, to act in the 
event of C.C. members being arrested, Later on, G. Petrovsky d 
Y. Sverdlov were co-opted on to the Central Committee and a Russian 
C.C. Bureau was set up. 

Lenin wrote to Gorky; "We shall shortly send you the resolutions 
of the Conference. We have finally succeeded-in spite of the liquidation- 
ist scoundrels-in reviving the Party and its Central Committee. I hope 
you will be as glad of this as we are."* 

The organisational principles of Bolshevism, the Party's policy and 
tactics in the new conditions of a revolutionary upsurge, found lull 
expression in the Prague resolutions. 

The conference had vast international significance, for it gave it 
revolutionary forces in the Second International parties a strife ng 
example of struggle against bourgeois agents in the socialist working- 
class movement. 

Every action by the Left Socialists against the opportunists grati.ied 
Lenin. He welcomed the decision of the Thirteenth Italian Socialist 
Party Congress, held six months after the Prague Conference of the 
R.S.D.L.P,, to expel Bissolati and his Right-wing reformist group. 
Commenting on the Italian Socialist Congress in an article for Pravda, 
he wrote: 

"A split is something distressing and painful. But sometimes it be- 
comes indispensable, and then all weakness, all 'sentimentality' ... is a 
crime. The leaders of the working class are not angels, saints or heroes, 
but people like anyone else. They make mistakes. The Party puts them 
right. . . . But when someone persists in an error, when, to defend an 
error, a group is formed that spurns all the decisions of the Party, all 
the discipline of the proletarian army, a split becomes indispensable. 
And the party of the Italian socialist proletariat has taken the right 
path by removing the syndicalists and Right reformists from its ranks.' 

In the expulsion of the Bissolati group Lenin saw confirmation ot 
the Prague Conference policy of energetically and consisto am 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35, p. 22. 
« V. I. Lenin, Collected Woi±s, Vol. 18, p. 172. 


combating the opportunists, right up to an organisational break with 

The Liquidators m Russia and their friends abroad-the Trotskyites, 
Bundists, Vpeiyod-ists, and the opportunist elements in the Polish and 
Latvian Social-Democratic parties-started a vicious campaign against 
the Prague Conference, seeking to discredit it and vindicate the 
Liquidators who had been expelled from the Party. They hypocritically 
vociferated that the Bolsheviks had engineered a "split", a "coup", and 
"usurped" power, etc. Trotsky out-shouted them all, and the leaders of 
the German Social-Democratic Party gave him the use of their central 
organ for his slanderous attacks. 

The small emigre opportunist groups-the Menshcvik Golos group, 
the Trotskyites and Vperyod group-refused to submit to the Prague 
decisions. This placed them outside the revolutionary proletarian party. 
With these opportunists ousted from its ranks, the Bolshevik Party 
greatly strengthened its organisations, achieved close-knit unity, enhanced 
its fighting capacity and was in a position to give effective leadership 
to the new upsurge of the mass revolutionary struggle. 

Both in Russia and abroad Lenin and the Bolsheviks directed their 
efforts to putting the Prague resolutions into effect. Bolshevik C,C. 
members reported back to local organisations on the conference, and 
its decisions were soon endorsed in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kiev, 
Nikolayev, Odessa, Kharkov, Poltava, Tiflis, Baku and other towns' 
The Conference Statement and the R.S.D.L.P. platform in the elections 
to the Fourth State Duma, drawn up by Lenin, were published in the 
Caucasus and in many other areas, and widely distributed throughout 
the country. They played a major part in reviving Party work and 
rallying Party organisations around the Leninist Central Committee 
and the Bolshevik election campaign. 

Lenin and "Pravda". On April 4 (17), 1912, a bloody drama was 
enacted m the far-off Siberian taiga when tsarist troops opened fire on 
striking miners employed by the Lena Goldnelds Co. This spurred the 
wnoJe country to revolutionary action: Russia was swept by a wave of 
Protest strikes. News of the Lena tragedy was carried by the Bolshevik 
wezcta to every corner of the country, merging the numberless voices 
i protest from factories and mills into a single, powerful wrathful 
woe ot Russia's working class. In Paris, Lenin discussed these events 
en-lr^ 1 "^ / , thc R - S ' D ' L - P - group and outlined measures that would 
rev 1 ■ Bolsllcv ik Party to give leadership to the mounting mass 
voiubonary movement. Later he addressed meetings in Paris and. 
iPzig on the revolutionary upsurge in Russia, 
in M L f n ^ shootin 9 s greatly increased the demand for Zvezda, which 
mow^f , ga ? t0 appcar thrce times a week - The growth of the 
ttealT r m u h demands on th e Party press. Meeting with 

Confer^ ,L / ? oclal ; Democ ratic Duma group during the Prague 
Work ? CC ' Central Committee discussed publication of a daily 
ers paper. In Zvezda, too, there were numerous articles and 


letters from St. Petersburg workers suggesting that such a paper be 
founded and promising financial support. Their initiative was warmly 
supported by workers in every part of the country. 

On April 10 (23), Bolshevik Duma member N. Poletayev obtained 
permission from the authorities to publish a daily paper, Pravda (Truth). 
and its publication was announced shortly thereafter. On the night 
following April 21 (May 4), the printing plant where Pravda was being 
put out was crowded with workers sent by Party organisations from 
all parts of the capital: they had come to bring copies of the first Marxist 
daily to the shops and working-class districts. 

Lenin described the organisation of this workers' daily as "a great 
feat of the workers of St. Petersburg". Pravda was published on voluntary 
contributions from workers and enjoyed immense popularity: in 1912, 
there were 620 group contributions, in 1913, the number was 2.181, and 
in January-May 1914, 2,873. Lenin regarded these voluntary contribu- 
tions as equivalent to Party membership dues. Without the assistance of 
the working class, Pravda would never have been able to survive for 
so long in conditions of brutal police repressions; 36 court suits were 
filed against its editors in the first year of publication alone, chiefly for 
failure to pay fines. All in all, the editors spent nearly four years (47.5 
months) in jail, and 41 issues were confiscated. True, only a small cart 
of the total edition fell into the hands of the police, for most of the 
papers were carried away by workers before the police could lay their 
hands on them. Besides, confiscated issues were wrapped in reactionary 
newspapers and mailed to Lenin and subscribers in Russia and abroad. 
Eight times the tsarist government suppressed Pravda, but it con!.- uied 
to come out under different names: Workers' Pravda, Northern Pravfc, 
Labour Pravda, For Pravda, Proletarian Pravda, Pravda s Path, Worker, 
Workingmens Pravda. Despite all difficulties, the Bolsheviks were able 
to put out 636 issues in the little more than two years of Pravda s 
existence. And this, Lenin said, was "conspicuous proof of the class 
consciousness, energy and unity of the Russian workers". 

The anniversary of Pravda, April 22 (May 5), has since been celebrated 
as Workers' Press Day. . ^ 

On June 10 (23), 1912. Lenin and Krupskaya moved from Pans to 
Cracow, Polish Galicia, then part of Austria-Hungary. To obtain a 
residence permit, Lenin had to appear and answer questions at ponce 
headquarters. Asked about his occupation and means of livelihood, ne 
replied * _ 

'T am a correspondent of Pravda, a Russian democratic newspapc 
published in St. Petersburg, and of Sotsial-Deniokrat, a Russia 
newspaper published in Paris; that is the source of my earnings. 

Questioned about his purpose in coming to Cracow, Lenin sa:d: 
have come to Galicia to study agrarian relations, in which I am P 
ticularly interested, and also to study the Polish language." 

* Leninsky Sbormk {Lenin Miscellany) IL p. 471. 




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Lenin in Zakopane 
Photo, 1914 

The record of the interrogation bears the following note by the 
police Commissioner of Pulwce District in Cracow : 

"I have arranged for Ulyanov to be kept under secret surveillance 
and will duly report the results thereof." 

The real reason why Lenin chose Cracow was that it offered better 
opportunities for directing Pravda and Party activity in Russia, notably 
in connection with the forthcoming Duma elections. He wrote to Gorky: 

"You ask, why am I in Austria. The C.C. has organised a Bureau here 
(between ourselves): the frontier is close by, we make use of it, it's 
nearer to Petersburg, we get the papers from there on the third day, 
it's become far easier to write to the papers there, co-operation with 
them goes better. There is less squabbling here, which is an advantage. 
There isn't a good library, which is a disadvantage. It's hard without 

At first, Lenin rented a two-room apartment in a house on Zwierzyniec 
Street in the eastern, working-class suburb. But this was too far away 
from the railway station, to which Lenin had to make daily trips to post 
letters-to make sure that his articles reach Pravda in time, he used to 
send them with the evening express. On August 22 (September 4), 1912, 
the family moved to another address, not far from the railway 
station, on Lubomirski Street (now Andrzej Modriewski Street), 
where they rented a modest two-room flat. The furniture consisted of 
three cheap iron beds, two deal tables, a few bookshelves and a few 

In Cracow and Poronin, Lenin came into still closer association with 
the Polish labour movement. He had a sufficient command of the lan- 
guage to follow the press, notably socialist publications, and was of 
great help to the Polish Social-Democrats. Twice he addressed Social- 
ist gatherings in Cracow. The first, on April 18, 1913, at the People's 
University was representative of the various trends in the Polish move- 
ment. Lenin's subject was: "The Russian Working-Class Movement and 
Social-Democracy", with special reference to the international implica- 
tions of the revolutionary workers' movement in Russia. The second 
lecture, "The Russian Social-Democratic Movement and the National 
Question", was delivered on March 21, 1914, at a meeting of the Spunja 
students' society. There were many questions and a spirited discussion. 
J-ne meeting, which took up three sessions, aroused wide interest among 
students and workers. 

, In April 1914, there was a significant interview with the Polish 
journalist Alfred Maykosen on the mounting danger of imperialist war. 
'Would you welcome a conflict?" Maykosen asked Lenin. 
Certainly not," was Lenin's prompt reply. "Why should I want a 
conflict? I am doing-and will do-everything I can, everything within 
y power, to prevent mobilisation and war. I do not want to see 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35, p. 54. 


millions of workers killing each other to pay for capitalist madness. 
There can be no two opinions on that score, 

"It is one thing objectively to predict a war and, should it break 
cut, take maximum advantage of the situation. But to want war- thai is 
quite another thing."* 

In Cracow, Lenin immediately resumed his work and was soon in close 
contact with Prauda, the Social-Democratic Duma group and local Party 
organisations. Correspondence with Russia increased rapidly reaching 
up to several hundred letters a month. Arrangements were made ^ 
illegal crossings of the frontier. On the Russian side this was handled by 
N. Krylenko, then living in Lublin, where he was a teacher of literature 
and history. Many comrades came from Russia to deliver messages 
and reports from Party organisations, discuss their problems and 
receive instructions and advice. With the revolutionary revival n y 
Party members returned to Russia, and nearly all of them stopped c \ or 
in Cracow to consult Lenin. Meetings of the Central Committee and 
other conferences were held at Lenin's flat. The files of the Central 
Committee Bureau Abroad were kept there too. 

Lenin was Prauda s factual editor-in-chief. He wrote for the paper 
almost daily. His articles appeared under various pseudonyms: V, I p., 
V. Frey, K. T., V. I., Pravdist, Statistician, Reader, M. N„ and many 
more. Altogether, more than 280 of Lenin's articles and shorter r ics 
appeared in the paper, all of them dealing with pressing problen of 
the movement and written in an Aesopian language that evaded the 
censor but was perfectly clear to the reader. 

At first Prauda was reluctant to enter into polemics with the Liqui- 
dators. In a letter to V. Molotov, then Prauda s executive editor, early 
in August 1912, Lenin sharply criticised this conciliatory attitude tow As 
the Liquidators: "You write, and as secretary, evidently, on behalf of 
the editorial board, that 'the editorial board in principle considers ray 
article fully acceptable including the attitude to the Liquidators'. If hat 
is so, why then does Prauda stubbornly and systematically cut out any 
mention of the liquidators, both in my articles and in the articles of 
other colleagues??""" One of the senior editors, M. Olminsky, obje< fced 
that Lenin's articles against the Liquidators were "too angry in to , 
Lenin wrote back: "Since when has an angry tone against what is bad, 
harmful, untrue . . . harmed a daily newspaper?? On the contrary, 
colleagues, really and truly on the contrary. To write without 'anger 
of what is harmful means to write baringly." :; ** Thanks to Lenin s 
vigorous intervention Prauda started a sharp polemic with Luch {The 
Ray), the Liquidationist newspaper. 

During the Fourth Duma election campaign, in the autumn of t*j 
the Mcnshevik Liquidators tried to prevent a discussion of politick 

* Joxef Sicradzki, Polskia lata Lenina, Warszawa, 1960, S. 46. 
** V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35. p. 47. 
*** Ibid., p. 47. 


platforms of the two groups at election meetings. They were afraid- 
and with good reason- to discuss a revolutionary programme for the 
R.S.D.L.P., knowing that they would be defeated. Lenin insisted that 
Prauda and its supporters make this the chief issue and intensify their 
campaign against the Cadets and Liquidators, thereby giving the paper 
a more militant spirit. He wrote: "Can you imagine the press organ of 
progressive democracy not being a militant organ in these militant 
times? Let us assume the very best: let us assume that Prauda is 
confident of an anti-Liquidator victory. But we must fight just the same 
in order that the country know what it's all about, who is disrupting the 
election campaign and what principles we are fighting for. Luch is 
waging a furious, hysterical campaign, shamelessly renouncing all its 
principles. Prauda-to spite it-is making a show of 'seriousness', is being 
squeamish and is not fighting at all!! Does that resemble Marxism? And 
is it true that Marx was able to combine a fight, a most passionate, 
selfless and relentless fight, with fidelity to principle?? 

"To refrain from fighting at election time is to ruin everything."* 
Lenin attached great importance in the elections to the "Left bloc" 
tactic, i.e., temporary agreements with the Trudoviks, Socialist- 
Revolutionaries and Popular Socialists as a counterweight to the 
Menshevik tactic of alliance with the Cadets. 

He was pleased with the results of the Bolshevik campaign: Bolshevik 
W0 J*f ™- Badaycv, M. Muranov, G. Petrovsky, F. Samoilov, N. Shagov 
and R. Mahnovsky-were elected from the workers' curia in all six 
industrial gubernias. The non-industrial gubernias returned seven 

Ju? Leni " W3S ?Vf. tifled b y th e fact also, that the Bolsheviks had 
onirto T r °"n miUl ° n , worlters compared with less than a 

b X US,™ T CaSt for , th = Mcnshevik Liquidators. In his letters 

sM^a^a* contributors ' editors and 

disca^r 5 unremitt ™9 in , his efforts to improve Prauda and 
Z Inut «s/c?rgam S at,on with members of the Central Committee and 

♦ ' ma 91 ? UP - He em Phasised that Prauda was the most 
mportant organisational weapon for rallying and developing the revo- 

Sn,r VCmCnt °, nl 7 thl ' 0U9h Pm " da COuld tlle reeruit the 

fore J n \ m0 " Cy n ° ed , cd t0 ex P and its iU egal activity. The task there- 
fefigtong fund"'" 330 circulation and worker contributions to 

^VnCZjft^rt t SUp ? 01 ^ s were ^itcd to contribute to 
1* alio wi ? , ° rky ' ln th,s connection, that they should not 

a seriou? m T? 9 i e m rati " M ™st «ew S . Marxism, he wrote. Is 
hav«£ 7 r ' thcy ^P^ate that-all the better "But if thev 

^Z n^lrtiw th Z hmC A l 1C i™ ed 'hen don t hot? 

^aams^me: friendship is friendship, but duty is duty. For attempts 

" V. I. Lenin, Collected Works. 4th Buss, ed.. Vol. 3B, p. 162. 



to abuse Marxism or to confuse the policy of the workers' party, we 
shall fight without sparing our lives/'* 

Lenin also insisted on strengthening the Pravda editorial staff to ensure 
a consistent Bolshevik policy, effectively rebuff the overweening lAq 
dators, vigorously campaign for working-class unity from below and 
utilise every opportunity to help organise illegal work at local Party 
level. The reorganisation was carried out in the spring of 1913. Central 
Committee direction of the paper was strengthened. The conciliators 
were removed. Somewhat earlier, in January 1913, Concordia Samoilova 
was appointed executive editor. Lenin welcomed all these measures, 
which made Pravda a more authoritative voice of the working class. 

In March 1913, Pravda s circulation reached 30,000-32,000, and 
on holidays as much as 40,000-42,000. But that was only a begin- 
ning, and Lenin pressed for an intensified campaign to increase circula- 
tion, suggesting factory competition as part of a special effort to win 
over every mill and factory from the Menshevik Luch. "A victory of 
Party principles is a victory for Pravda and vice versa,"** he wrote, 
stressing that the Bolsheviks must work to bring Pravda' s circulation 
to 50,000-60,000, and subsequently to 100,000. 

In this way, Lenin gave Pravda, which he regarded as the beloved 
child of the Bolshevik Party, his day-to-day care and direction. 

On his instructions, Pravda comprehensively reported conditions in 
numerous factories, publishing in all over 17,000 items from its worker* 
correspondents, of which 10,000 dealt with strike struggles. Pravda 
trained and rallied around it a veritable army of worker-correspondents 
who courageously carried Lenin's ideas to the masses. 

In its columns Lenin consistently advocated the hegemony of the 
proletariat in the coming revolution and alliance of the working class 
and peasantry. In a series of articles, "Big Landlord and Small Peasant 
Landownership in Russia", "Famine", "The Peasantry and the Working 
Class", he emphasised that the interests of 30,000 big landlords and 
tens of millions of peasants, doomed to misery and poverty, were 
irreconcilable. It would be absurd to believe, he wrote, that antagonisms 
accumulated over the centuries could be resolved peacefully, leaving 
the feudal landlords and the autocracy in full power. 

In another article, "How Can Per Capita Consumption in Rus- Be 
Increased?", he cited figures to show that in per capita consumption 
tsarist Russia was one of the most backward countries, "four times worse 
off than Britain, five times worse off than Germany and ten times worse 
off than America in terms of modern means of production"/"* Economic 
backwardness, the result of a reactionary social system, increased 
Russia's economic and political dependence on the Western imperialist 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35. p. 70. 
** Ibid., p. 96. 
*** V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 19, p. 292. 


The backwardness could be done away with, and living standards 
■mproved, only if the rule of the Black-Hundred landlords was destroyed, 
the landed estates abolished, the land turned over to the peasants and 
Russia placed under the rule of her people. Lenin's Pravda articles 
awakened in the workers and peasants a sense of responsibility for the 
country's future and prepared them for the new revolution against the 
autocracy and the bourgeoisie, who were responsible for all the suffering. 
Russia's salvation, Lenin wrote, lay in a people's revolution. 

In one of these articles, "Civilised Barbarism", Lenin scarchingly 
exposed capitalism which had become an obstacle to social progress, 
and was retarding the development of science, technology and culture. At 
every step, Lenin remarked, life is posing problems mankind is fully capa- 
ble of solving immediately, but capitalism is the hindrance. Capitalism 
could be likened to a rich glutton who is rotting alive through overeat- 
ing but will not let what is young live on. But the laws of history are 
inexorable: the young is growing and will assert itself despite everything. 

In other articles of this period, "Backward Europe and Advanced 
Asia" and "The Working Class and Nco-Malthusianism", lie disclosed 
the reactionary nature of the whole policy of the imperialist bourgeoisie 
which, in its fight against the workers and peasants, was prepared to 
stoop to every species of savagery and crime to keep alive the moribund 
system of capitalist slavery. Lenin was deeply convinced of the triumph 
of the coming revolution and instilled this confidence in the Party and 
working class. He wrote: "We arc fighting better than our fathers did. 

Our children will fight better than we do, and they will be victorious 

We are already laying the foundation of a new edifice and our children 
will complete its construction."* 

In his articles "Democracy and Narodism in China", "Big Achievement 
of the Ch inese Republic", "The Awakening of Asia", and others, published 
in Zvezda and Pravda, Lenin urged world working-class support for 
the national liberation movement of the Asian peoples awakened by the 
Russian revolution of 1905-07. "Everywhere in Asia a mighty democratic 
movement is growing, spreading and gaining in strength. The bour- 
geoisie there is as yet siding with the people against reaction. Hundreds 
of millions of people are awakening to life, light and freedom. What 
delight this world movement is arousing in the hearts of all class- 
conscious workers, who know that the path to collectivism lies through 
democracy! What sympathy for young Asia imbues all honest 

The Chinese people were in the van of the democratic movement in 
£sia. Lenin had a high regard for Sun Yat-sen, the revolutionary 
emocrat who led the national liberation movement in China, and though 
f pointed to certain errors in his political views, he spoke highly of 
s Militant, republican and democratic spirit, his heartfelt sympathy 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 19, pp. 236-37. 
Ibid., pp. 99-100. 

with the toiling and exploited people, his implicit faith in their strength 
and the justice of their cause. Lenin was confident that whatever the 
fate of the Chinese Republic, which was menaced by all kinds of 
"civilised hyenas", no power on earth could crush the heroic democratic 
spirit of the masses in Asian and semi-Asian countries. 

Led by Lenin, the Bolsheviks were the most consistent and resolute 
opponents of colonialism. Lenin described Italy's 1911-12 military ca 
paign in Africa and her seizure of Tripolitania as a typical colonial war 
of twentieth-century "civilised" states. It was, he wrote, "a perfected, 
civilised bloodbath, the massacre of Arabs with the help of the latest' 
weapons".* To put down the resistance of the coastal population, Italian 
troops, by way of "punishment", beat up nearly 3,000 Arabs, hanged 
some 1,000, killed whole families. 

Under the peace treaty, Tripolitania passed from one foreign oppres- 
sor to another-from Turkey to Italy. This, Lenin pointed out, did not 
end the war, for the Arab tribes in the heart of the country would not 
submit to the new yoke. However, Lenin also pointed out that the p<th 
to freedom would be a hard one. The imperialist freebooters, he wr< 
would for a long time to come "civilise" the Arabs by bayonet, bullet 
noose, fire and rape,** rejoicing in their suppression of a backward and 
unarmed people- But Lenin was always sure that freedom would be 
won. He was a genuine friend of the Arabs and other oppressed Afri in 

He regarded the struggle for colonial freedom as a component part of 
the world proletarian struggle against imperialism. 

The Party's legal activity in Russia centred around Pravda. But Prauda 
was, at the same time, an important channel through which illc ml 
organisational work was conducted. For it was through Pravda that 
Lenin and the Central Committee communicated their directives to 
local Party organisations, and it was through the same channel that 
these organisations kept the Central Committee and Lenin in touch v itb 
the movement. Local Party leaders met at the Prauda offices to exchange 
experience in building the Party under illegal conditions, and members 
of the Pravda staff helped front-rank workers build new Party organi- 
sations in the factories, legal societies, trade unions, insurance sock 
etc. Prauda was in the centre of the struggle for the Party and the P 

It raised aloft the Party banner and energetically combated the Liqui- 
dators, Trotskyites, Ofemyists and all other opportunists. By rallying the 
legal workers' organisations around the illegal Party nuclei, by patiently 
and consistently campaigning for political working-class unity, Prouda 
directed the working-class movement towards the new revolution, 

Lenin's Pravda enjoyed the deep esteem of the workers and the 
Bolsheviks came to be known as Pravdists. Lenin wrote in later years 5 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 18. p. 337. 
** Ibid., p. 338. 


"The Pravdists, who championed loyalty to the Party's revolutionary 
rinciples, encouraged the incipient revival of the working-class move- 
ment (especially after the spring of 1912), combined underground and 
legal organisation, the press and agitation, and rallied about themselves 
the overwhelming majority of the class-conscious workers."* Pravda, 
Lenin emphasised, "had the support of hundreds of thousands of 
workers, who by their modest contributions were able to overcome 
both the oppression of tsarism and the competition of the Mensheviks, 
those petty-bourgeois traitors to socialism."** 

Lenin made a special effort to enlist the Party's best literary forces 
and make Pravda a mass workers' paper of a new type. He was in 
regular correspondence with its editors, most of the contributors, knew 
many of them personally and could accurately gauge their literary 

As a result the foundation was laid for a mass Bolshevik Party which 
could not be destroyed either by provocation or persecution during the 
hard days of the imperialist war. Pravda trained a new generation of 
revolutionary workers, hundreds of thousands of proletarians who were 
to play a decisive part in carrying out the Great October Socialist 
Revolution and assuring victory in the civil war. 

Among those who helped to bring Pravda s message to the workers 
were L Varcikis, I. Kabakov, G. Kaminsky, M. Khatayevkh, M. Artyu- 
khin, who joined the Party in 1913-14. 

The standard-bearer of Marxism-Leninism, the Party's potent ideolog- 
ical weapon, Pravda continued and multiplied the traditions set by Lenin 
in Iskra, Vperyod and Proletary. And the Pravda tradition was further 
enriched in the Soviet press after the October Revolution. 

In organising and conducting Pravda, in using it to carry out revolu- 
tionary policy and for the political education of the masses in the dif- 
ficult conditions of tsarism, Lenin and his associates set a signal example 
for the progressive, Communist, revolutionary press of the world. That 
has been emphasised by leaders of Communist Parties in many countries. 

"Prosveshcheniye". The Party's legal press was not confined to Pravda. 
On Lenin's instructions the Bolshevik monthly Prosveshcheniye 
(Enlightenment) was started in 1911, the first issue appearing in St. 
Petersburg in December of that year. Right up to the time it was closed, 
j& July 1914, the magazine played an outstanding part in the Marxist 
internationalist education of Russia's front-rank workers. 

Lenin asked Maxim Gorky to take charge of its belles lettres section, 
and was very happy when Gorky agreed. "It really will be splendid," he 
Wrote, "if little by little we draw in fiction writers and set Prosveshche- 
niye going! Excellent! The reader is new, proletarian; wc shall make 
the journal cheap; you will let in only democratic fiction, without 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 333. 

* V. L Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 33, p. 351, 


moaning, without renegade stuff. We shall consolidate the workers. And 
the workers now are fine. Our six deputies in the Duma from the worker 
curia have now begun to work outside the Duma so energetically that it 
is a joy to sec. This is where people will build up a real workers' party! 

From Paris, and later from Cracow, Lenin directed Prosveshcheniy L 
editing its articles and carrying on a regular correspondence with 
M. Savelyev, M. Olminsky, A. Yclizarova and other members of the 
editorial board. He himself contributed 26 articles, among them "The 
Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism", "Critical 
Remarks on the National Question", and "The Right of Nations to Sr. 

"The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism", written 
for the thirtieth anniversary of Marx's death, effectively exposes the 
calumny of bourgeois science that Marxism is a sort of "sect". "There 
is nothing resembling 'sectarianism' in Marxism, in the sense of its being 
a hidebound, petrified doctrine, a doctrine which arose away horn the 
high road of the development of world civilisation," Lenin wrote. "On 
the contrary, the genius of Marx consists precisely in his having 
furnished answers to questions already raised by the foremost minds of 
mankind. His doctrine is . . . the legitimate successor to the best that man 
produced in the nineteenth century, as represented by German phildsop 
English political economy and French socialism/'"" 

But, Lenin explained, Marx and Engels did not simply take over c 
materialism of the eighteenth-century French thinkers and Feuerbach, 
just as they did not simply adopt the Hegelian dialectics, that chief 
acquisition of classical German philosophy. They advanced philosophical 
thought by evolving dialectical and historical materialism, a harmonious 
and integral world outlook that is irreconcilably opposed to all manner 
of superstition, reaction and defence of the bourgeois system. And Lc in 
emphasised that the philosophy of Marxism had given the whole of 
mankind, and not only the working class, potent weapons of knowledqe. 

The classical English economists Adam Smith and David Ricardo by 
their investigations of the capitalist economic system laid the foundati. is 
of the labour theory of value. Taking this achievement of classical polit- 
ical economy as his starting-point, Marx substantiated and consistently 
developed this theory and formulated a new economic doctrine, of which 
the theory of surplus value is the corner-stone. Marxian political economy 
provides a profound and thoroughly scientific explanation o£ the 
inevitability of capitalism's collapse. 

Marx and Engels always highly appreciated the great Utopian socialists 
Samt-Simon, Charles Fourier and Robert Owen, who condemned 
capitalist society and foresaw some of the features of the future society. 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35, pp. 83-84. 
** V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 19, pp. 23-24. 


r t theirs was a socialism without class struggle, without an understand- 
. f the historic mission of the proletariat and therefore unrealisable. 
It was a Utopian socialism of which Lenin wrote that it "could not 
indicate the real solution. It could not explain the real nature of wage- 
slavery under capitalism, it could not reveal the laws of capitalist 
development, or show what social force is capable of becoming the creator 
f a new society". * Only the scientific socialism of Marx and Engels, 
which is a component part of Marxism, was able to do that. 

The Marxist doctrine is omnipotent because it is true, Lenin empha- 
sised, and expressed his unshakable confidence that Marxism would help 
the working class abandon all the prejudices of bourgeois society, acquire 
knowledge and organise to destroy the old, capitalist society and build 
a new, socialist society. 

In "The Historical Destiny of the Doctrine of Karl Marx", Lenin 
pointed to three periods of world history since the appearance of the 
"Communist Manifesto" in 1848-from the revolution of that year to the 
Paris Commune of 1871; from the Paris Commune to the first Russian 
revolution of 1905, and the period following that revolution. 

"Since the appearance of Marxism," Lenin wrote, "each of the three 
great periods of world history has brought Marxism new confirmation 
and new triumphs. But a still greater triumph awaits Marxism, as the 
doctrine of the proletariat, in the coming period of history/'** These 
words, based on scientific prevision, have been vindicated with amazing 
accuracy and force. The Great October Socialist Revolution opened a 
new era in human history, the era of the collapse of imperialism and the 
assertion of communism, the era of the triumph of Marxism. 

In 1913, the Marx-Engels Correspondence (1844-1883) was published 
in Stuttgart in a four-volume edition compiled by August Bebel and 
Eduard Bernstein. In October-November 1913, Lenin made a profound 
and creative study of the voluminous correspondence (1,385 letters) 
of the founders of scientific communism and compiled a synopsis, which 
was first published in the U.S.S.R, in 1959. The synopsis was drawn up 
for an article for Prosueshcheniye, and an announcement of its forthcom- 
ing publication appeared in Proletarskaya Prauda in December 1913. 
This unfinished article was published only in 1920 in Pravda on the 
hundredth anniversary of Engels's birth. 

Lenin drew on this synopsis in his other writings, notably his famous 
article "Karl Marx", begun in Poronin shortly before the outbreak of 
world War I, completed in Switzerland in November 1914 and published 
a year later, in abridged form, in the Granat Encyclopedia. "Karl Marx" 
!L, a concise b ut surprisingly complete account of the teaching of the 
"at founder of scientific communism. In explaining the essence of that 
W&Q, Lenin emphasised the remarkable consistency and integrity of 

* V. I, Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 19, p. 27. 
Ibid., Vol. 18, p. 585. 


Marx's views which, in their sum-total, present "modern materialism 
and modern scientific socialism, as the theory and programme of the 
working-class movement in all the civilised countries of the world" ■ 
With Pravda firmly established in St. Petersburg, Lenin set the Party 
another goal-publication of a legal workers' daily paper in Moscow. _ ■ 
discussed this in the article "The Results of Six Months' Work", pub- 
lished in Pravda in July-August 1912. Collections for the paper, Nash 
(Our Path), began among Moscow workers in January 1913 in rcspo s 
to an appeal of the Party Central Committee. The first issue appeared 
on August 25 (September 7), 1913, and immediately won wide popu 
ity among Moscow workers. It was suppressed by the police, howe^ , 
on September 12 (25). Ten of Lenin's articles appeared in its sixteen 

Lenin closely followed the political and educational activities of the 
magazine Rabotnitsa (Woman Worker), published legally in St. Peters- 
burg from February 26 to June 26, 1914. Among its leading contribu. g 
were Nadezhda Krupskaya, Inessa Armand, Ludmila Stael and Anna 

Lenin devoted much attention also to another legal Bolshevik prj ilx- 
cation, the weekly journal Voprosy Strakhovania (Social Insurance), 
founded in St. Petersburg in October 1913. It skilfully combined he 
campaign for centralisation of the sick-benefit societies, workers' com rol 
over these societies, etc., with militant propaganda of the three 
"uncurtailed" Bolshevik slogans." "" 

During his stay in Poland Lenin wrote and published about 400 ar les 
in the legal and illegal Party press, not counting numerous letters. 

The combination of legal and illegal forms of press propaganda 
enabled the Bolsheviks to train hundreds and thousands of class-consc ous 
fighters for democracy and socialism. In later years Lenin frequently 
referred to this Bolshevik experience of building up a new type of pc od- 
ical press for the workers, pointing to its immense international 
significance and insisting that it be ably utilised by the Communist and 
Workers' Parties of other countries. 

Lenin and the Duma group. Following the elections to the Fourth 
Duma, Lenin worked for close contact between the Bolshevik Duma 
members and the C.C. Bureau abroad. Membership in the Duma, he 
pointed out, was a militant and responsible post. It was the du! — 
working-class representatives to speak on behalf of Russia's millions, use 
the Duma platform to disseminate revolutionary ideas and hold aloft 
the great banner of the Bolshevik Party. Lenin carefully followed every 
phase of Bolshevik activity in the Duma, correcting the group when I N# 
made a false step and teaching them on their own mistakes and successes. 

He advised the Bolshevik deputies firmly and boldly to dechr . » 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 50. 
** The three basic revolutionary slogans: democratic republic, confiscation 
landed estates and eight-hour day. 




their very first statement, that Russian Social-Democracy was a detach- 
ment of the great international army of the socialist proletariat and 
that the time was drawing near when an end would be put to capitalism, 
and millions of proletarians, solidly united, would build a socialist 
society free of poverty and exploitation. The Duma group, Lenin said, 
niust openly associate itself with the resolute working-class protest 
against war voiced by the Basle International Socialist Congress. The 
workers demand peace, the Duma deputies must declare, they arc against 
interference in the Balkan war, they demand freedom and equality for 
all the Balkan nations. 

In their statement, the Bolshevik deputies must show up the intoler- 
able state of affairs in Russia, the appalling condition of the working 
class, the poverty that reigns in the rural areas, the rightlessness of the 
people, the police tyranny. They must declare that Russia needs political 
freedom like the air she breathes. The Duma members must especially 
emphasise in their first statement the leading role of the proletariat in 
the liberation movement, for it is the proletariat that is leading all the 
democratic forces in the battle for freedom, setting an example, infusing 
a new spirit and sentiment throughout the vast country, 

Lenin's draft statement was the subject of a long and stormy debate 
between the Bolshevik and Mcnshevik Duma members. The Bolsheviks 
were able to uphold all their basic positions. In accordance with Lenin's 
instructions, nearly all the fundamental points of the Party's minimum 
programme were incorporated in the Social-Democratic statement, which 
was read from the Duma platform, practically in full, on December 7 
(20). Published in Pravda on the following day, it became widely known 
among the workers, to whom, in fact, it was addressed and played no 
small part in extending the working-class struggle against tsarism. 

At first the Social-Democrats made up a single group in the Fourth 
Duma-scvcn Mensheviks and six Bolsheviks. Exploiting their accidental 
majority of one, the Mensheviks ignored the elementary rights of their 
Bolshevik colleagues, though they represented the vast majority of 
Russia's workers. They prevented the Bolsheviks from speaking on major 
issues and tried to keep them out of the Duma committees. The Cracow 
Central Committee meeting, on Lenin's suggestion, unanimously decided 
to demand equality for the two parts of the Duma group. However, in 
carrying out that decision Lenin and the Central Committee met with 
distance from some of the Bolshevik deputies and Stalin, though at 
Cracow they had all voted for Lenin's proposal. Stalin approved of the 
Bolshevik Duma members refusing to write for the Mcnshevik paper 
ch and rejected the Mcnshevik plan to merge Luck with Pravda, But 
defiance of the Cracow decision, he objected to the demand for 
quality, pleading, with no justification whatever, that the Bolshevik 
six were not strong enough to operate such a firm policy. 

The Mensheviks turned down the equality demand, and the six Bol- 
sheviks, on instructions from Lenin and the Central Committee, set up 


a Duma group of their own. This proved to be an important factor in 
uniting the Russian workers under the banner of the Bolshevik Parly. 

Lenin patiently taught the Bolshevik deputies how to make the most 
of the Duma platform for revolutionary purposes. They frequently visited 
Lenin in Cracow to consult with him and attended Central Committee 
meetings at which all aspects of Duma activity were discussed. One 
of the Bolshevik Duma six, A. Badayev, recalls how painstakingly Lenin 
explained that the task of the worker deputy was "constantly to remind 
the Black Hundreds from the Duma tribune that the working class was 
strong and powerful and that the day was not far off when a new 
revolution would wipe out the Black Hundreds together with their 
Ministers and government. Of course, the deputies could table amend- 
ments or even introduce a bill, but all their actions must have one object: 
to denounce the autocracy, expose the monstrous tyranny of the gov- 
ernment, drawing attention to the downtrodden condition of the working 
class and its inhuman exploitation. That was what the workers expected 
c£ their Duma members." * 

All the important Bolshevik Duma speeches were drawn up by 7 : 
or with his close co-operation. In April 1913, he sent G. Petrovsky the 
draft of a speech on the national question, a month later, in May, he 
drew up another speech, on the government's education policy, 'or 
A. Badayev, and a statement on the 1913 budget. In June, he drafted a 
speech for N. Shagov on the government's agrarian policy. 

In 1914, Lenin prepared two bills on national equality (one of which 
was published in March in Prauda) and drafted speeches on the govern- 
ment's national policy and the Ministry of Agriculture estimates. All 
these speeches exposing the reactionary policy of the landlords and 
capitalists met with lively and sympathetic response among the workers. 

Lenin closely followed the illegal extra-Duma activity of the Bolshevik 
group, carried out in pursuance of Party decisions. The iepu ies 
conducted extensive propaganda and organisational work among the 
masses, reporting back to the workers at factory and area meetings, 
organising strike relief and contributing to Prauda. They were frequent 
speakers also at illegal meetings of Party organisations, helped them in 
their work, and formed new Party nuclei. They performed a host of oilier 
assignments of the Party Central Committee, such as the mailing of 
confiscated issues of Prauda to undercover addresses. 

In his appreciation of this work, Lenin wrote that the Bolshevik 
deputies were "deputies excelled, not in high flown speech, or being 
'received 7 in bourgeois, intellcctualist salons . . . but in ties with Efre 
working masses, in dedicated work among those masses, in carrying on 
modest, unpretentious, arduous, thankless and highly dangerous duties 
of illegal propagandists and organisers".** 

In this way, under Lenin's leadership, a new type of proletarian- Party 

^A. Badayev, The Bolsheviks in the State Duma. Russ. cd„ Moscow, 
P ' ** V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 173. 


parliamentarian was being trained. The Bolshevik deputies were executors 
of the Party's will; its decisions, by which it was guided in all its 
activity, were binding on them. Unity within the parliamentary group 
W as based on its submission to the will of the Party. 

When one of the six, Malinovsky, relinquished his Duma mandate 
this aroused widespread anger and indignation in the Party. At that time 
the Party had no evidence that Malinovsky was a police agent, but when 
that was established several years later, Lenin drew some very important 
lessons. In his famous Lett-Wing Communism, an Iniantile Disorder he 
said that in Russia the rapid change from legal to illegal work, which 
necessitated particular secrecy with regard to the Party's general staff, 
its leaders, sometimes led to highly dangerous developments. "The 
worst," he wrote, "was that in 1912 the agent-provocateur Malinovsky 
got on the Bolshevik Central Committee. He betrayed scores and scores 
of the best and most loyal comrades, caused them to be sent to penal 
servitude and hastened the death of many of them. That he did not cause 
still greater harm was due to the correct relationship between legal 
and illegal work."* 

Lenin repeatedly pointed to the vast importance of the Bolsheviks' 
"parliamentary" experience for the entire international communist 
movement, stressing that the Communist Parties must be exceptionally 
exacting with regard to their parliamentary groups. He worked out the 
following guiding principles: complete subordination of parliamentary 
groups to the control and directives of the Central Committee; parlia- 
mentary groups should consist mainly of revolutionary workers; parlia- 
mentary speeches should be carefully analysed in the Party press and 
at Party meetings from the standpoint of fidelity to communist principles ; 
members of parliament should be required to engage in mass propa- 
ganda; members of parliament who display opportunist tendencies must 
oe expelled from the group. These principles were fully endorsed by 
the international communist movement. 

The Cracow and Poronin Central Committee meetings. Towards the 
close of December 1912 the Central Committee met together with Party 
functionaries at Lenin's home in Cracow. Called the "February"' 
Conference for purposes of secrecy, it was attended by members of the 
Central Committee, Bolshevik Duma deputies, and representatives of 
the illegal Party organisations of St. Petersburg, Moscow Region, South 
Russia, the Urals and the Caucasus. 

The arrival of Party activists from Russia was a great occasion for 
J-enm. He was in his element, animated and elated. All free time was 
spent in long talks with the delegates and making the acquaintance of 
"lose he did not know. 

The meeting reviewed the experience of 1912, after the Prague Con- 
ference. Lenin delivered a speech on this question, giving a profound 
analysis of the 1912 strike struggles. He pointed out that they signified 

* V. I. Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 3, p. 396. 


not merely transition from decline to revival, but the launching by the 
working class of a mass offensive against the capitalists and the autoc- 
racy. The strike movement-in which economic and political struggles 
were closely interconnected-was once more broader in scope than hi 
any other country in the world, including even the most developed. About 
one million had been involved in political strikes, Russia had entered 
the phase of maturing revolution. This was the beginning of a new 
revolutionary upswing, much more powerful than on the eve of the 
1905 revolution. 

And Lenin also pointed out that the revolutionary strikes in the sum- 
mer of 1912 had been followed by unrest and mutiny in the army and 
navy (the mutiny of sapper units in Turkestan, unrest among naval 
ratings in Sevastopol and Kronstadt). These mutinies, Lenin stressed, 
were evidence of mounting ferment and discontent among th e masses, 
especially the peasantry which made up the bulk of the armed forces. 
On the Russian working class devolved the momentous task of awaken- 
ing and training the masses for revolutionary action, of giving leader - p 
to the mighty onslaught that would destroy the Romanov monarchy and 
win freedom and a democratic republic. The resolution adopted on 
Lenin's report defined the basic tasks of the Party and working class in 
the situation of mounting revolutionary upsurge. 

On Lenin's proposal the meeting declared that the only correct 
organisational pattern, in the conditions obtaining in tsarist Russia, w as 
"an illegal Party as the sum-total of Party nuclei surrounded by a 
network of legal and semi-legal workers' associations"," and that the 
diversity of forms of cloaking these illegal nuclei, and maximum flexi- 
bility in adapting activities to local and other conditions were the earnest 
of the vitality and effective functioning of the illegal Party organisation. 

Lenin addressed the meeting on another important issue "On the 
Attitude to Liquidationism and on Unity". He showed that the An st 
conference of 1912, convened on Trotsky's initiative and advertised as 
a "conference of R.S.D.L.P. organisations", had in fact been a Liquida- 
tionist conference, since the delegate body had been made up chit ly 
of a group of Liquidators expelled from the Party and with 
no ties with the workers in Russia. Resolute struggle against the 
Liquidators continued to be one of the Party's chief tasks. 

The meeting adopted a resolution drafted by Lenin on the Bolsh nk 
position on unity. It urged Social-Democratic worker unity from bfile 
in the factory nuclei, shop committees, district groups, city organisat i 
the various legal societies, etc. The Lenin tactic of united front from 
below holds a firm place in the strategy and tactics of the Communist 

Other resolutions, also framed by Lenin, dealt with the Social- 
Democratic Duma group, the insurance campaign, Social-Dcmoci - L 
crganisations in the non-Russian areas, and reorganisation of the Pvauda 

* V. I. Lenin. Collected Works. Vol. 18, p. 458. 


ditorial board. The Cracow resolutions, which set out the Party's policy 
on all the major issues, were approved by the Central Committee and 
published, together with a statement on the meeting, in a pamphlet 
widely circulated to Party organisations. They did much to strengthen 
the Party, promote closer unity in its ranks and help win over the 
majority of the working class. 

In the spring of 1913, Nadezhda Konstantinovna's health became worse 
and her doctors advised her to spend a few months in the mountains. 
Early in May the family moved to Poronin, a small village near Zako- 
pane, the well-known mountain resort. They rented a small cottage 
from a local peasant woman named Teresa Skupien-two rooms, kitchen 
and tiny attic which Lenin used as a study. They also spent the summer 
of 1914 in Poronin. "We live the life of country folk, early to bed and 
early to rise," Lenin wrote to his sister, Maria Ilyinichna. He would 
begin his day with a swim before breakfast, in the Dunajec, a mountain 
stream that ran near the Skupieh cottage, then walk to the post-office to 
pick up mail, glance through it and answer urgent telegrams and letters. 
After breakfast he would work till seven in the evening with a brief 
interval for the midday meal. In the evenings Lenin would cycle to the 
railway station to mail his letters. When the weather was good he would 
take his work to the Golitsova Hrapa, a hill affording an excellent view 
of the snowcapped Tatra peaks. Sometimes he would take long walks in 
the mountains. Older Poronin inhabitants recall "Pan Ulyanov" dressed 
in a sports jacket, his pockets stuffed with newspapers. What surprised 
them was that he was the only vacationist to take an interest in their 
life, the harvest, wages, etc. 

Nadezhda Konstantinovna's health did not improve in Poronin, and 
Cracow doctors suggested that she consult Professor Kochcr, a specialist 
on thyroid disorders, in Berne, Switzerland. 

In the last week of June, Lenin and Krupskaya left for Berne, stopping 
over at Vienna for a meeting with Party comrades. In Berne they were 
welcomed by G. Shklovsky, a Party comrade, and for a short while stayed 
with his family. The room they subsequently rented was small, dai'k 
and damp, but it had the important advantage of being cheap. Krup- 
skaya was put in hospital, where she spent about three weeks. Lenin 
visited her in the mornings and spent the rest of the day in the libraries. 
In Berne, Lenin wrote his "Theses on the National Question" and 

few up notes for a lecture on the subject which he delivered in Zurich, 
Geneva, Lausanne and Berne. These lectures, Russian emigres who 
a «ended them recall, attracted not only Bolsheviks, but members of 
other socialist emigre groups; the halls were always packed. On August 3, 

u' ^ enin addressed the second conference of R.S.D.L.P. organisations 
abroad on the position in the Party. 

Lenin and Krupskaya returned to Poronin early in August, in time for 
^ meeting of the Central Committee with the Bolshevik Duma members. 
^ was held on August 9 and discussed the position and tasks of the 

ar ty, the Duma Social-Democratic group, the Russian shop assistants' 


and co-operative congresses, the organisation of a Party school, (h 
position of Pravda, Prosveshcheniye, Priboi (the Party publishhi 

a Bolshevik newspaper in Moscow. 

In Poronin, Lenin learned of the death of August Bebeland immediate v 
sent a message of condolence to the German socialists on behalf of Eiie 
R.S.D.L.P. Central Committee. It was published in Vorwarts on A; 
17. On August 8 (21), Pravda carried an article by Lenin paying fcribi e 
to Bebel as an outstanding leader of the German proletariat, prom 
international Social-Democratic spokesman and active opponent of 
opportunism and reformism. 

In the autumn, the Central Committee met together with Party func- 
tionaries. For purposes of secrecy it was called the "summer" confcic *g 
but has gone down in Party history as the "Poronin" conference. Most of 
the delegates travelled to Poronin as tourists and stayed at a boardi: g- 
house run by Guta Mostowy, a local peasant. Some of the meetings v re 
held there, others at the Lenin cottage. The conference was directed by 

Lenin delivered the introductory speech and the report on the work 
of the Central Committee. The growth of the revolutionary movement and 
the organisational strengthening of the Party, he said, were clear proof 
that the Bolsheviks had adopted and followed a correct policy. The 
outstanding success in the elections to the Fourth Duma, the founding 
cf Pravda, and the high level of the strike movement, were all the result 
of the Party's activities under the direction of its Central Commiiiee. 
We can say with a clear conscience, Lenin told the meeting, that we have 
done our duty. The reports from local organisations are evidence that 
the workers are anxious to strengthen the Party and build up ils 

The resolutions on propaganda, organisational problems and the 
convening of a Party Congress, drafted by Lenin and approved by the 
conference, defined the Party's tasks and basic forms of activity in the 
new situation. 

Lenin made a comprehensive report on the national question, which 
had acquired heightened importance in view of the spread of Buck- 
Hundred chauvinism and the growth of nationalist tendencies among the 
liberal bourgeoisie and the top sections of the subject nationalities. This 
created a grave danger to the movement's militant internationalist unity, 
which the Bolsheviks had always championed and now, with the new 
rise of the revolution, were working to strengthen. 

The resolution concretised the demands set out in the R.S.D.L.P. 
programme, formulated a number of new propositions, and called f° r 
discussion of a Bolshevik national programme at the next Party 

Lenin regarded the resolution as a fundamental policy staEcmc d 
the Party and repeatedly referred to it as an expression of the collective 
view of the Russian Marxists. 



Photo, 1911 


In his concluding speech Lenin declared that in view of the importance 
c f its discussions and decisions, the Poronin meeting had the significance 
of a regular Party conference. The Central Committee Statement on 
the meeting contained this appeal to all Party organisations and 
members : 

"The path has been mapped out. The Party has found its basic forms 
f work in the present transition period. Loyalty to the old revolutionary 
banner has been tested and proved in a new situation and under new 
conditions. The most difficult times are past comrades. We are entering 
a new stage. Events of the utmost importance are on the way, and they 
will decide the fate of our country. To work then, comrades!"* 

The fight for proletarian internationalism, Lenin and Krupskaya 
returned to Cracow on October 7 (20), 1913. By this time contacts with 
Russia had been greatly extended and strengthened and Lenin was able 
to give more operational leadership to the Party. Though away from 
Russia, he was the recognised leader of her working class. His tactics 
of combining legal with illegal activity and of promoting unity from 
below bore splendid fruit. Late in the summer of 1913, the Bolsheviks 
scored a brilliant victory in the elections to the St. Petersburg Metal- 
Workers' Union executive. The election meeting was attended by about 
3,000 union members. The Liquidators polled about 150 votes,- all the 
rest went to the Bolsheviks. Lenin received a congratulatory telegram 
'om the metal-workers shortly after the results were announced. 

Lenin made it a point to discuss preparations for political campaigns 
or important conferences of trade union or other labour organisations at 
joint meetings of the Russian and Foreign Bureaus of the Central 
Committee in Cracow or Poronin. 

Parallel with this day-to-day guidance of the Party, Lenin continued, 
during October-December 1913 and the early months of 1914, to work 
on a comprehensive substantiation of the Party's theory and policy on 
the national question. 

On his advice a number of prominent Party workers undertook a study 
of the problem. Lenin gave a positive appraisal of Stalin's article, "The 
National Question and Social-Democracy", published in Prosueshcheniye 
and re-published in later years under the heading, "Marxism and the 
National Question". 
Lenin^ welcomed the appearance in Prosueshcheniye of P. Stucka's 
tide "The National Question and the Latvian Proletariat". S, Shahu- 
^yan, with whom Lenin was in regular correspondence, wrote an impor- 
tant article in opposition to N. Jordania, the Menshcvik leader who 
advocated "national-cultural autonomy", a theory that could only harm 
jjie labour movement. In this period Lenin wrote his classical "Critical 
Remarks on the National Question" and "The Right of Nations to Self- 
^termination", both of which are a masterly theoretical analysis of the 

Cent* T he C P,S - U - in Resolutions and Decisions ot Congresses, Conferences and 
Committee Plenary Meetings, Russ. ed., 1954. Part I, p. 308. 

^ lMs 209 

national question and of the tremendous part it plays in the working- 
class movement and in the destiny of the nations. 

Lenin discussed the economic factors in the Bolshevik programme on 
the national question and formulated the famous Marxist proposition 
about two tendencies in the development of the national question under 

"Developing capitalism knows two historical tendencies in the national 
question. The first is the awakening of national life and national 
movements, the struggle against all national oppression, and the creat ion 
of national states. The second is the development and gio 1, 
frequency of international intercourse in every form, the breakdown of 
national barriers, the creation of the international unity of capital, of 
economic life in general, of politics, science, etc. 

"Both tendencies are a universal law of capitalism,"* 

The first tendency, Lenin wrote, is historically associated with the 
epoch of the triumph of capitalism over feudalism and stems from 
deep-rooted economic factors. The free development of capitalism re- 
quires conquest by the bourgeoisie of the home market, the merger into 
a single state of territories with populations speaking one and the si e 
language, with removal of all obstacles to the development of that a- 
guagc and to its consolidation in literature. It is therefore the tendency 
of every national movement to form national states best suited to L ;e 
requirements of modern capitalism. Deep-rooted economic factors thus 
make the national state the typical and normal type under capitals m. 
That applies to the whole civilised world. 

The second tendency is typical of the higher, imperialist stage of 
capitalist development. The emergence and extension of international 
sea and rail routes, development of the world market, export of capital, 
etc., make for closer economic tics between nations and for international 
division of labour. And this tendency, Lenin believed, was expressive 
of the tremendous expansion of the forces of production. It led to liquida- 
tion of national isolation and the rise of the capitalist world systc. 

But, at the same time, Lenin pointed to the fact that the capitalist 
world system achieved these closer economic ties not through equal 
co-operation, but through savage rivalry, through oppression, coercion 
and subjection of colonial and semi-colonial nations, through brutal 
imperialist exploitation and robbery of backward countries. The second 
tendency, therefore, far from superseding the first, aggravated it and 
roused among the oppressed nations resentment and struggle against 

Lenin demonstrated that the Marxist national programme took both 
tendencies into account The first, by championing equality of nations 
and languages and the right to self-determination up to and including 
secession and formation of independent states, and the second, by 
championing the great principle of proletarian internationalism and. 

* V, I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 20, p. 27. 


gm g uncompromising struggle against attempts to instil bourgeois 

nationalism in the working class. 

It stands to reason that Lenin never believed national oppression could 
be fully ended under capitalism-only socialism offered a consistent and 
thorough solution. Prior to World War I, when a democratic revolution 
was on the order of the day in Russia, Lenin regarded the national 
estion as p art Q f the general question of the bourgeois-democratic 
revolution. The overthrow of tsarism, elimination of the survivals of 
feudalism and complete democratisation, he said, were essential for 
solution of the national question, "insofar as it can, in general, be solved 
in the capitalist world, the world of profit, squabbling and exploitation".* 
The demand he advanced for all the peoples oppressed by tsarism- 
and they made up more than half of Russia's population-was the right 
to self-determination, the right to independent statehood. Accordingly, 
he called on the working class to support these peoples in their fight 
for national liberation, against tsarism. 

In all his writings on the national question Lenin stigmatised the 
tsarist policy of national oppression and attacked the Great-Russian 
chauvinism of the Black Hundreds, and especially the subtle, and there- 
fore more dangerous, bourgeois nationalism of the Cadets. He disclosed 
the substance of bourgeois nationalism as an attempt to divide the 
workers along national lines, weaken their unity, undermine the prole- 
tarian class struggle and the cause of freedom and democracy. To the 
nationalism of the bourgeoisie Lenin always, firmly and consistently, 
counterposcd the internationalism of the proletariat, He wrote: "Bour- 
geois nationalism and proletarian internationalism-these are the two 
irreconcilably hostile slogans that correspond to the two great class 
camps throughout the capitalist world, and express the two policies 
(nay, the two world outlooks) in the national question/'* * 

In "Critical Remarks on the National Question", Lenin gave a com- 
prehensive and profound Marxist criticism of the bourgeois nationalist 
programme of "cultural-national autonomy" and its supporters, who 
maintained that under capitalism there could be an integral national 
culture standing above classes. Lenin formulated- for the first time in 
the history of Marxism-the important proposition that there existed two 
cultures in every national culture. International culture, he said, was 
not non-national : 

"The elements of democratic and socialist culture are present, if only 
in rudimentary form, in every national culture, since in every nation 
there are toiling and exploited masses, whose conditions of life inevitably 
9ive rise to the ideology of democracy and socialism. But every nation 
3 lso possesses a bourgeois culture (and most nations a reactionary and 
clerical culture as well) in the form, not merely of 'elements', but of the 
dominant culture. Therefore, the general 'national culture' is the culture 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 20, p. 22. 
** Ibid., p. 26. 


of the landlords, the clergy and the bourgeoisie."* The elass-conseio Lls 
worker, Lenin taught, takes from each national culture only its demo- 
cratic and socialist elements, as a counterweight to the bourgeois cultum 
and the bourgeois nationalism of each nation. 

The important thing in the national question, Lenin teaches us, is to 
unite the workers of all nations, bring them closer together and achieve 
class unity in the struggle against bourgeois-landlord nationalism. And 
Lenin administered a stern rebuff to L. Yurkevich and other Ukrainian 
nationalists who, allegedly in the interests of promoting Ukrainian 
national unity, advocated weakening of the close ties the Ukrainian nnd 
Russian proletariat had formed within a single state. He wrote: "Given 
united action by the Great-Russian and Ukrainian proletarians, a £ - !C » 
Ukraine is possible; without such unity it is out of the question."" " 

These prophetic words are inscribed in letters of gold on the g - 
plinth of the Lenin monument in Kiev, erected by the people of the 
Ukraine in token of their boundless affection for and gratitude to the 
great teacher of all the peoples of the Soviet Union and of the working 
folk of the whole world. 

In his other article, "The Right of Nations to Self-Determination", 
Lenin deals with Rosa Luxemburg's erroneous proposal to delete the 
clause on self-determination from the Russian Marxists' Programme. 
Rosa Luxemburg's mistake lay in the fact that she regarded the right 
of nations to self-determination as a concession to the bourgeois nation- 
alism of oppressed nations. Wholly concerned with the struggle against 
bourgeois nationalism in Poland, she was oblivious to Great-Russian 
nationalism, which at that time represented the principal obstacle to 
the development of democracy and proletarian struggle. 

Demonstrating why it was necessary to retain this clause in the 
Party's Programme, Lenin explained that recognition of the right to 
secession must not be confused with the advisability or inadvisability 
of secession in any specific instance. All other conditions being equal, 
the revolutionary proletariat would favour a bigger state, for it offer ! a 
number of significant advantages compared with smaller states. 

In his efforts to promote proletarian internationalism, Lenin was 
always guided by the writings and practical activities of Marx. " The 
Inaugural Address of the International Working Men's Association", 
drafted by Marx in October 1864, stressed the immense importance of 
fraternal alliance of the workers of the various countries in the fight for 
emancipation of all the working people. The Address contains this 
statement: "Past experience has shown how disregard of that bond of 
brotherhood which ought to exist between the workmen of different 
countries, and incite them to stand firmly by each other in all their 
struggles for emancipation, will be chastised by the common discomfiture 
of their incoherent efforts."*** 

* V. t Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 20, p. 24. 
** I bkl f p. 31. 

*** Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, Moscow, 1958, p. 384. 


Time and again Lenin drew attention to the well-known Marxist thesis 
that no nation can be free if it oppresses other nations. The freedom 
of the Russian nation demands a struggle against the oppression of all 
n0ll -Russian nationalities. For only such a struggle can guarantee the 
really democratic and really socialist education of the masses and offer 
the best chances of national peace in Russia. Conversely, the slightest 
support by the proletariat of the privileges of "its" national bourgeoisie 
will inevitably breed distrust on the part of the proletariat of another 
nation, will inevitably weaken working-class solidarity and disunite the 
workers to the joy and delight of the bourgeoisie. 

The proletarian parties arc internationalist, but they must not, Lenin 
explained, confuse the nationalism of oppressing and oppressed nations. 
We are categorically opposed to the nationalism of all oppressing nations, 
f all imperialist powers. But "the bourgeois nationalism of any op- 
pressed nation has a general democratic content that is directed against 
oppression, and it is this content that we unconditionally support".* 
Guided by Lenin's teachings on the national question and developing 
them further, the Communist Parties support the national liberation 
struggle of the Asian, African and Latin American nations against im- 
perialism and feudalism, for this struggle serves the cause of national 
freedom and victory over the forces of imperialist reaction, the cause of 
social progress. 

Lenin's works on the national question written in these years oi 
revolutionary revival are an outstanding contribution to the ideological 
treasure-house oi creative Marxism. They continue to serve as a reliable 
guide for all Communist and Workers' Parties. 

For Party and working-class unity. The increasing scope of the 
revolutionary struggle accentuated the need for stronger working-class 
political unity. 

The Liquidators and Trotskyites sought to cover their defection with 
hypocritical shouts about "unity" of the R.S.D.L.P. which, they alleged, 
was being undermined by Bolshevik "splitting" activities. It was neces- 
sary, therefore, to expose the real splitters and make clear to the workers 
fne conditions needed to consolidate the forces of the working class and 
J ts party. 

Without unity, Lenin taught, the working class cannot successfully 
w age its struggle. And real, genuine unity presupposes, first and fore- 
most, unity of the working-class party. Unity implies discussion in which 
options are heard and weighed, the views of the majority of organised 

Marxists ascertained and formulated in a decision that gives integral, 
r°."JP rc hcnsive and accurate answers to pressing problems, and, further, 

aitnful fulfilment of that decision. Unity is inconceivable without the 
w , arxi ^ minority submitting to the majority, without respect for and 

nolehearted implementation of the will of the majority, 
^h^the conditions of tsarist Russia, the revolutionary proletarian party 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 20, p. 412. 


can exist only as an illegal organisation; there is no other way. For that 
reason, Lenin emphasised, the only possible conception of unity is i 
achieved from below, by the workers in their underground party organi- 
sations. He who wants unity must join the illegal proletarian pa] ... 
The workers' cause needs unity of the Marxists, not unity of the Marxists 
with the enemies and distorters of Marxism. 

In criticising the Liquidator theory of a "broad section" as a substitute 
for the party, Lenin further developed his thesis on the relation of party 
to class, of the role of organisation. 

"The party is the politically conscious, advanced section of the class, 
it is its vanguard. The strength of that vanguard is ten times, a hund _d 
times, more than a hundred times, greater than its numbers. 

"Is that possible? Can the strength of hundreds be greater than .he 
strength of thousands? 

"It can be, and is, when the hundreds are organised, 

"Organisation increases strength tenfold."" 

And it is in its ability to organise, Lenin taught, that the political 
consciousness of the vanguard manifests itself. Organised, it acquires a 
single will, and this single will of the front-rank thousand, of hundreds 
of thousands, of a million, becomes the will o£ the class. 

Lenin devoted much time and effort in 1913-14 to exposing TroL . s 
anti-Party August bloc. The Trotskyite group sought to instil in Russia 
the ideology and policy of Centrism, that is, of subjecting the prole tanas 
revolutionary elements to the petty-bourgeois reformist elements \v: rin 
one common party. The unprincipled bloc formed by Trotsky in 1912, 
at the August conference of Liquidators, Bundists, Caucasian Menshcviks, 
and Vperyod-ists, was an anti-revolutionary bloc directed against the 
Bolsheviks. The open Liquidator attacks against the "underground", that 
is, against the revolutionary proletarian party, met with no support 
among the workers, and Trotsky then decided, on the advice of he 
Liquidators, to operate under a "non-factional" signboard. 

Lenin exposed Trotsky's Centrism, his political adventurism, - f 
number of articles. One of these, "Disruption of Unity Under Cover of 
Outcries for Unity", is of especial importance for a proper understanding 
of Lenin's fight against Trotskyism. It was meant chiefly for the younger 
generation of workers, who in 1914 made up nine-tenth of the Party 
and who had no knowledge of the long struggle of conflicting trends in 
the Russian and European Marxist movement. 

Lenin was particularly incensed by the unprincipledness and duplicity 
cf Trotsky who, for all his verbal fireworks, was defending the Liqui" 
riators and reformists and preaching Liquidationist ideas. Lenin called 
Trotsky a "Balalaikin"** for his phrase-mongering and a Judas*** for his 

* V. L Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 19, p. 406. . 
** Bulalaikin-a character in M Saltykov-Shchedrin's Modern ldyll-3. liberal 
phrase-monger, adventurer and liar. 

*** Judas Colovlyou-a character in Saltykov-Shchedrin's novel The Goloi'ly 
Family, a pious hypocritical type. 


j nc ipledness and duplicity. He considered Trotsky "the worst 

litter'' in the Russian Social-Democratic movement. 
SP The unprincipled and anti-revolutionary August bloc, made up of 
heterogeneous groups, began to fall apart under the blows dealt by 
Lenin and the Bolsheviks. 

What worried Lenin was that the Lettish Social-Democratic organi- 
sation, composed largely of workers, had joined the August bloc in 1912. 
Through I. Hermanis, I. Rudis-Gipslis, P. Stucka and other Lettish 
Bolsheviks, with whom he was in close touch, he urged withdrawal from 
the bloc. In May 1913 he drafted a platform for the Fourth Lettish 
Social-Democratic Congress, and made a trip from Cracow to Berlin on 
December 26-27, 1913 (January 8-9, 1914), to meet the Lettish Bolsheviks 
and discuss preparations for the Congress, which was to open in Brus- 
sels a few days later. Lenin was invited to the Congress as an honorary 
guest and representative of the C.C., R.S.D.L.P.(B.). It was arranged that 
on the eve of the Congress he would address the delegates, who had 
come illegally from various parts of Latvia, on the national question. 

It was clear that the Bolsheviks would have a majority, but only of 
one vote, Lenin's pre-Congress meeting with the delegates was therefore 
regarded as a test of strength in preparation for the decisive battle. 

As soon as Lenin appeared on the second-floor landing of the Colos 
Cafe, where the meeting was to be held, he was surrounded by a large 
group of delegates. One of them, a tall, elderly worker from Riga, 
warmly embraced him and other delegates came up to shake hands. 
Lenin was already acquainted with many of them and they brought 
messages of good wishes from mutual friends. 

Lenin's explanation of the Bolshevik theory and tactics on the national 
question was followed with the closest attention and punctuated with 
applause and cries of approval. Lenin spoke of the need for the working 
people of Latvia and the Baltic provinces generally to unite with the 
Russian working people, with all the peoples of Russia, in the fight for 
a brighter future. The Marxist party, he stressed, always true to its 
great revolutionary goal, stood out as the force that inspired, guided, 
organised and led the working class and working people at every stage 
of the struggle for fraternity among the nations. He called on the Lettish 
Marxists to work for genuine, not fictitious, Party unity and safeguard 
the Party's ranks against vacillators and traitors. 

In his speech at the Congress, Lenin criticised the Central Committee 
°f the Lettish Social-Democratic organisation for its opportunist stand, 
exposed the Trotskyite August bloc and called on the Letts to break with 
the Liquidators. He had to overcome strong conciliatory tendencies, but 
Was able to persuade the Congress to withdraw from the August bloc. 
Arid this, in Lenin's opinion, was the strongest blow dealt Trotsky's 
coalition, one that put an end to Trotskyites' attempts to start a Centrist 
P ar ty i n Russia. 

The Brussels I.S.B. meeting. Early in May 1914, Lenin and Krupskaya 
a 9ain went to Poronin. Shortly before there was a meeting of the Central 


Committee, attended also by Duma member G. Petrovsky, to discuss 
the Party's participation in the Second International Congress and 
International Women's Conference, and preparations for the next Party 
Congress, all of which were scheduled to meet in Vienna in August. 

Now that they had been dislodged from all key positions in the 
Russian working-class movement, the Mensheviks were determined to 
take revenge at the I.S.B. meeting and the Vienna International Con- 
gress. The Second International leaders hastened to help them. I n 
December 1913, when the "Russian question" was discussed at a meet- 
ing of the I.S.B. in London, Kautsky declared that in Russia "the old 
party has ceased to exist". 

Lenin was deeply incensed by this statement, which he described as 
"monstrous". The liquidators immediately seized on this statement of 
Kautsky's and used it in their campaign against the Bolsheviks. Nasha 
Rabochaya Gazeta, the St. Petersburg liquidation ist paper, came out 
with the report that the I.S.B. had, "with full knowledge of the facts", 
discussed the differences in Russia and had sternly censured the 
"Leninists" while granting full remission of sins to the liquidators and 
giving them its blessing to continue their "exploits" in demolishing he 
Lenin exposed this opportunist line of the I.S.B.; "We are being 
lectured on unity with the liquidators of our Party-an absurdity. It is 
we who are bringing unity into being, by rallying the workers of 
Russia against the liquidators of our Party."* Lenin urged the Bo "ie- 
viks in Russia and abroad to organise a campaign of protest against 
Kautsky's statement, and such a campaign was organised. 

On the eve of the First World War the International Socialist Bureau 
arranged a conference in Brussels, attended by representatives ol le 
Menshevik Organising Committee, the Mcnshevik Caucasian Regional 
Committee, the Trotskyite Botba group, the Menshevik Duma members, 
the Plekhanov Unity group, the Vperyod group, the Bund, the Social- 
Democratic organisations of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland and the 
Polish Social-Democratic opposition, the P.S.P. Left 

Lenin decided against attending the conference. On his proposal the 
Bolshevik Central Committee delegated Inessa Armand, M, Vladimirsky 
and I, Popov. Inessa Armand read in French a statement of the 
R.S.D.L.P. Central Committee drawn up by Lenin, which convincingly 
demonstrated that there was no "factional chaos" in Russia, as the 
Russian opportunists and their Second International patrons had tried 
to make out. What was taking place in Russia, the statement emphasised, 
was a struggle between the Marxists and the Liquidators, in which a 
genuine workers' Marxist party was being forged, a party that already 
had the support of the overwhelming majority of Russia's ciass- 
conscious workers. Outside this workers' unity there were only "general 
staffs without armies", in Russia itself and abroad. 

* V. I. Lcnin, Collected Works, Vol. 35, p. 134. 


Liquidationism, the statement further said, was a trend supported 
. intellectuals who had renounced all association with the illegal 
oarty and were seeking to replace it by an open, legally-existing 
mo rphous party. And Lenin drew the conclusion, formulated in the 
statement, that the differences with the Liquidators concerned more 
than organisational matters, more than the question of how to build 
the Party-the very existence of the Party was at stake. On this issue 
there could be no reconciliation, agreement, or compromise. The only 
wa y to build and strengthen the Party was through resolute struggle 
against the Liquidators. 

After spokesmen of the various "trends" and groups had had their 
say, Kautsky submitted a resolution on the "reunification" of the 
R.S.D.L.P. The resolution was out of order, for the conference had 
been called for the express purpose of exchanging views, no more. The 
Bolsheviks and the Lettish Social-Democratic representatives therefore 
declared they would have no part in the voting; all the rest voted for 
the Kautsky resolution. 

Lenin and the Bolsheviks refused to submit to the decisions of the 
opportunist Second International On the pretext of establishing 
"peace" in the R.S.D.L.P. its leadership was planning to liquidate the 
independent Bolshevik party, the proletarian party of a new type. That 
plan was exposed and foiled. 

Lenin insisted that the minutes and resolutions of the Brussels 
Conference be published so that they be brought to the knowledge of 
broad sections of the workers in Russia and Western Europe. 
He availed himself of every opportunity to explain to the Western 
workers the essence of Bolshevism and the vast importance for the 
world socialist labour movement of the Bolshevik struggle against 
opportunism and revisionism. 

In mid-July 1914, Lenin presided over another conference in Poronin 
of Central Committee members and Party functionaries from Russia. 
They discussed the activities of the Duma group and preparations for 
the Party Congress, which were proceeding against the background of 
a mounting revolutionary movement in Russia. The powerful May Day 
strikes and demonstrations were followed by the general strike in Baku. 
!n St. Petersburg the police opened fire on a mass solidarity rally of 
workers from the Putilov Plant. The working class retaliated by a fresh 
w ave of strikes and demonstrations against tsarist tyranny. Barricades 
Were thrown up in St. Petersburg, Baku and Lodz. The proletariat was 
Preparing for decisive battle. 

As Lenin had pointed out, a revolutionary crisis was maturing in 
Russia. Meanwhile, the tsarist government, in alliance with Anglo- 
French imperialism, was making frenzied preparations for war against 
Germany. The government hoped that war would put an end to the 
revolutionary movement. There were wholesale arrests of Bolsheviks 
^d Party sympathisers. On July 8 (Old Style), the St. Petersburg 
ec ret police raided the Pravda offices and arrested many of its staff. 


The Black-Hundred press called for the arrest of the Bolshevik Duma 

The years of the new rise of the revolution preceding the First World 
War were one of the most important periods in Lenin's life and 
activity. Looking back on this period, Lenin remark ed that the Bolshe- 
viks had won the battle against the opportunists. The Bolshevik Party 
had been "restored by the January 1912 Conference, strengthened by 
the elections, in the worker curia, to the Fourth Duma, consolidated by 
the Pravdist papers of 1912-14, and represented by the Russian Social- 
Democratic Labour group in the Duma"." Under Lenin's leader, 
the Bolsheviks, not only restored their organisation, but converted it 
into a mass working-class party, into the strongest political force jjf 
the Russian revolutionary movement, 

Surmounting tremendous difficulties, the Bolshevik Party won • 
the majority of the working class, isolated the Liquidators, Trotskyites, 
nationalists and all other agents of the bourgeoisie in the working- 
class movement and welded the political unity of the great bulk of the 
Russian proletariat. This was an outstanding success, and it was achieved 
because Lenin had always armed the Party with the theory and tactics 
of creative, revolutionary Marxism. Of particular importance was his 
elaboration of Bolshevik theory and policy on the national question, 
his emphasis on proletarian internationalism as a key factor in the 
development of the world working-class and national liberation 

Despite the formidable difficulties created by illegality, Lenin saw 
to it that there were regular meetings of the Party Central Committee, 
C.C. conferences with Party functionaries and Duma Bolshevik members, 
and general Party conferences. He always insisted on, and practised, 
collective leadership. The Party worked consistently to unite and 
organise the working class, safeguard Party unity and secure nrm 
discipline in its ranks. 

By his indefatigable activities, both on the theoretical and practical 
fronts, by his militant internationalist policy, Lenin thwarted the 
conspiracy of the opportunist Second International leaders against the 
Bolshevik Party and prepared it for the trying ordeals of the imperialist 

! V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 198. 

Chapter Eight 

\Vc mu-t not lie deceived by the present yrave-like slillne*? 
in Europe; Europe is pregnant with revolution. 

The summer of 1914.... Imperialism had plunged mankind into a 
devastating, predatory war that was to bring incalculable misery and 
suffering, death to tens of millions of men at the front and measureless 
grief to their families. The war spread with avalanche-like speed, 
involving the whole world. It was a war between two blocs of imperial- 
ist powers for the re-division of colonies and spheres of influence, for 
the plunder and enslavement of other peoples, One of the blocs, the 
Quadruple Alliance, was headed by German imperialism; its other 
members were Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria. The other, the 
Entente, was headed by the British and French imperialists; tsarist 
Russia was one of its members. Later, Japan, Italy, the United States 
a &d other countries entered the war on the side of the Entente. 

The outbreak of war found Lenin in Poronin. All the Bolsheviks 
hving there gathered at his house to discuss the situation, Lenin told 
theni it was imperative to devise new forms and methods of Party 
w °rk to conform with war-time conditions, and re-establish regular 
contact with Russia as soon as possible. He felt sure that the war would 


accentuate all the contradictions of capitalism, intensity the class 
struggle in all countries, create and aggravate a general political crisis 
and thereby hasten the new revolution in Russia. That was an objective 

Lenin arrested. Lenin was falsely accused of espionage and on July 25 
(August 7) his house was searched. One of the gendarmes seized his 
notes on the agrarian problem, mistaking the statistical tables for a 
secret code. Lenin was ordered to appear before the military authorities 
at Nowy Targ, the county seat, on the following day. It was obvious 
that he would be arrested and tried by a military tribunal. He 
immediately warned the other Bolsheviks and wired a protest to the 
Cracow police. When he came to Nowy Targ, he was arrested and 
in jail. There were many local peasants in the jail. Lenin won their 
respect by giving them legal advice and helping to obtain their re!c\ 
Questioned by the police, he replied with dignity that he was a corre- 
spondent and staff member of the St. Petersburg Pvavda and had been 
a member of the Russian Social-Democratic Party for the last twt v 

News of his arrest by the Austrian authorities appeared in Russian 
newspapers and caused much alarm to his relatives and Party membe s. 
There was all the more reason for alarm because Russian troops were 
near Cracow and if the city was captured by the Russian army, Lenin 
would easily fall into the hands of the tsarist police. In fact, the latter 
were already anticipating that. The Police Department notified General 
Alekseyev, commander at the Scuth-Western front, that according to 
information in possession of the Ministry of the Interior, V. I. Ulyanov, 
better known as Lenin, was being held in custody in Cracow. Lenin, 
the police dispatch said, was one of the top leaders of the R.S.D.L.P.. 
"with long years of participation in the revolutionary movement ... a 
member of the Party's Central Committee and the founder of a distinct 
trend within the Party". He was wanted by the police, and General 
Alekseyev was asked to "be good enough to order Lenin's arrest" and 
place him "at the disposal of the Petrograd* Police Department", 

There were many strong protests from Polish progressives- the Social- 
Democratic leaders Ganiecki and Bagocki, Dr. Dluski of Zakopane, a 
veteran of the Narodnaya Volya, the well-known writers Jan Kasprowicz, 
Wladyslaw Orkan and others. 

Nadezhda Konstantinovna appealed to the Austrian M.P.s Victor 
Adler and Hermann Diamant, who knew Lenin as a member of 
International Socialist Bureau. They brought pressure to bear on the 
Austrian authorities. The espionage charge was so preposterous that 
even the Cracow police had to admit they had "no incriminating 
evidence to support the charge of espionage against Ulyanov". Tbat 
was the ignominious end of the foul reactionary attempt to vilify and 
calumniate this great champion of the working class and the people. 

* St Petersburg was renamed Petrograd in August 1914 following the out- 
break of the war. 


Upon his release on August 6 (19), Lenin immediately returned to 
Poronin by peasant cart, without waiting for a train. A week later the 
family moved to Cracow, where they obtained the necessary papers 
for the journey to neutral Switzerland, and left Poland. 

The journey to Vienna, in a freight car, took several days. In the 
Austrian capital Lenin met Victor Adler, who told him about his con- 
versation with an Austrian Minister. The Minister had asked: "Are you 
sure that Ulyanov is an enemy of the tsarist government?" "Oh yes, a 
more confirmed enemy than Your Excellency," 

On August 23 (September 5), Lenin, Krupskaya and her mother 
arrived in Switzerland and took up residence in Berne. At first they 
rented a room, and then moved to a small flat with a tiny garden on 
the city's outskirts, near the Bremgarten Forest. 

Lenin's Manifesto on the war. The war had exacerbated and brought 
to the fore the deep-rooted contradictions in the socialist labour 
movement and showed that most of the leaders of the socialist parties 
and of the International were openly betraying the working class and 
the anti-war decisions of the socialist congresses. 

On August 4, 1914, acting in contravention to the will of the Interna- 
tional, the Social-Democratic group in Germany voted with the bour- 
geois-landowner majority in the Reichstag in favour of giving the Kaiser 
government war credits amounting to 5,000 million marks. Thus, 
Siidckum, Scheidemann, Haase, Lcgien, Kautsky and other leaders of 
the German Social-Democratic Party and the Second International 
rejected the class struggle and proletarian internationalism in favour of 
"civil peace" and social-chauvinism, becoming obedient tools of German 

Most of the official leaders of other socialist parties likewise came out 
in defence of their imperialist fatherlands. Emilc Vandervelde, leader 
of the Belgian socialists and President of the International Socialist 
Bureau, Jules Guesde, Albert Thomas, and Marcel Sembat, leaders of 
the French socialists, accepted portfolios in the bourgeois, reactionary 
governments of their countries; in Britain the same road was taken 
by MacDonald and Hyndman. Plekhanov and Axelrod, Menshevik 
leaders in Russia, became ardent defencists. The Second International 
shamefully collapsed and disintegrated. 

During this momentous crisis in the world working-class movement, 
banner of proletarian internationalism was held aloft by the 
oolshevik Party headed by Lenin. It alone set a worthy example of 
ndelity to socialism, leading the struggle of the working class of Russia 
against imperialism and the imperialist war and honorably discharging 
Jts revolutionary duty. For Lenin and all other Bolsheviks the rcsolu- 
ions on the war, adopted by international socialist congresses, were 
1Q t scraps of paper; they were a guide to action. 

As soon as war was declared, the Bolshevik Central Committee issued 
n appeal to the working people of Russia with the militant slogan: 

0Wn w ith war! War against war!" Lenin was the first to call upon 


the working people of the whole world to rise to the sacred struggle 
against the instigators and organisers of the imperialist shambles 
showed them the only possible, revolutionary way out of the reactionary 
war. y 

On August 24-26 (September 6-8), 1914, the local Bolshevik group j n 
Berne held a meeting at which Lenin set forth his views on what should 
be the Bolshevik attitude to the war. The meeting approved his theses 
"The Tasks of Revolutionary Social-Democracy in the European War"' 
which it adopted as the resolution of the "Social-Democratic Group"' 
Handwritten copies were made of the theses and sent to Bolshevik 
groups in other countries and in Petrograd. On October 3 (16), it was 
reported to Lenin that the Central Committee members in Russia, I c 
Duma group and Party organisations in St. Petersburg and otl 
towns had approved and aligned themselves with his theses on the v 
The Bolshevik Party took a firm, consistently internationalist stand on 
the war. 

Lenin used the theses adopted in Berne for a manifesto. After a reply 
was received from Russia it was decided to issue the manifesto in 
name of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P. and to call it ' 
War and Russian Social-Democracy". It gave a profoundly Ma 
assessment of the war as an imperialist, predatory and unjust war of 
aggrandisement on both sides. "Seizure of territory and subjugation of 
other nations, the ruining of competing nations and the plunder of their 
wealth, distracting the attention of the working masses from the 
internal political crises in Russia, Germany, Britain and other countries, 
disuniting and nationalist stultification of the workers, and the 
extermination of their vanguard so as to weaken the revolutionary 
movement of the proletariat-these comprise the sole actual content, 
importance and significance of the present war."* 

As has already been mentioned, Lenin and the Bolsheviks had done 
everything in their power to prevent war from breaking out, 
insofar as the forces on their side had not been strong enough and war 
was unleashed, Lenin advanced the slogan: Turn the imperialist war 
into a civil war. During war, he maintained, revolution signified civil 

The Central Committee Manifesto stated that "from the standpoint 
of the working class and of the toiling masses of all the nation-: of 
Russia, the defeat of the tsarist monarchy. . . would be the lesser evil"/** 
It would undoubtedly facilitate the people's victory over tsardom and, 
in its turn, this would enable the working class to move resolutely 
towards socialism, towards liberation from capitalist slavery and 
imperialist wars, Lenin's point of departure was that the policy of 
defeat of one's own imperialist government should be pursued not only 
by the Russian revolutionaries, but also by the revolutionary Marxists 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 27. 
** Ibid., pp. 32-33. 


r a j] the belligerent states. In a reactionary war the revolutionary 
°lass cannot avoid desiring the defeat of its own government. Lenin 
taught that this was imperative in order to turn an imperialist war into 
a civil war. 

He particularly denounced the shameful part played by the German 
Social-Democrats, the strongest and most influential party in the Second 
International. Its support of the imperialist war and betrayal of 
revolutionary Marxism and the socialist cause predetermined, in effect, 
the collapse of the Second International. For many years it had been 
considered the custodian and interpreter of the great theoretical heritage 
of the founders of scientific communism and had set the tone in the 
international socialist movement. The socialists of every country had 
faith in that party and in many cases had emulated it. And even after 
it had voted for war credits, the vast majority of the socialists did not 
fully appreciate the depths to which it had fallen and its betrayal of 
international proletarian solidarity. 

To the treacherous position of the German Social-Democratic leaders, 
Lenin opposed the genuine internationalist policy of the Bolshevik 
Duma representatives, who refused to vote for war credits, walked out 
of the Duma in token of protest and branded the policy of the European 
governments as imperialist. The Bolshevik Party, Lenin said, had not 
been daunted by the sacrifices and losses it had suffered as a result of 
its anti-war stand. 

He urged revolutionary Marxists to found a Third International that 
would be genuinely proletarian and free of opportunists and social- 
chauvinists, for only after a complete break had been made with these 
elements would it be possible to educate the working class in a truly 
internationalist spirit and prepare it for socialist revolution. Insofar as 
the bourgeoisie was using wartime legislation for mass repressions 
against the proletariat, Lenin put before revolutionary Marxists the 
task of building up illegal Party organisations in all countries and 
conducting illegal propaganda. 

In these difficult days of rampant chauvinism, betrayal and defection 
by the Social-Democratic leaders, Lenin was confident that the great 
principles of proletarian internationalism would in the end prevail. The 
working masses would overcome all obstacles and found a new 

There was the pressing practical problem of printing the Central 
Committee Manifesto, and this, even in "neutral" Switzerland, was by 
n -Q means easy. To prevent failure the undertaking had to be carried 
° u t in the strictest secrecy. Moreover, there were difficulties in obtaining 
Paper and finding a printshop, while the Central Committee's exchequer 
contained only 160 francs (about 40 rubles!) and the Committee of 

all ? evik . Or 9 anisations Abroad had only a little more than that. But 
1 these difficulties were overcome. 

By decision of the Central Committee Bureau Abroad, the Central 
ar ty Organ, Sotsial-Demokrat, resumed publication in Geneva. 


No. 33 of the newspaper appeared on October 19 (November 1), 1914, It 
carried the Central Committee's Manifesto on the War as its editorial. 
This issue, printed in 1,500 copies, was circulated among the Bolshevik 
groups abroad and smuggled into Russia via Switzerland. It played an 
important role in the Party's activities during the war. 

Taras Kondratyev, a Petrograd Bolshevik worker who organised 
illegal activity in the first Petrograd district, recalls the overwhelming 
impression this issue of the paper made in Bolshevik organisations in 
the capital. It arrived there, Kondratyev writes, early in November 
and "infused a fresh spirit in the movement, heartened and inspired us, 
fired us with an indomitable will to carry on the work no matter how 
difficult. We now knew for a certainty that what we had been doing ;1 
been right. Though we had been groping in the dark, cut off from the 
Party centres, we had taken the right, though hard and thorny road. 
The issue was read by so many people that in the end it was just a 
mass of* tattered newsprint"* 

The Manifesto was also put out as a separate pamphlet. The Bolshevik 
Party and the international labour movement thus received a clear 
programme of effective struggle against the imperialist war, tsarism 
and the bourgeoisie, a programme of struggle for the socialist revolution. 

Consolidating the Bolshevik forces. In Switzerland Lenin worked 
persistently to weld together the Bolshevik Party forces. This was 
particularly difficult in wartime conditions. The tsarist government 
began persecuting Bolshevik organisations and their committees with 
unprecedented fury. Members of illegal Party organisations were 
arrested and exiled in their thousands. During the war, the Petrograd 
committee alone was taken into custody more than thirty times. All 
Bolshevik newspapers and other periodicals were closed. Most of the 
trade unions and many cultural and educational societies were dispersed. 
Tsarism took ruthless revenge against the revolutionary working class. 
Lenin's contacts with Russia, which had been broken by the war, were 
re-established with considerable difficulty, in a roundabout way. Mail 
from Russia reached Switzerland very rarely. 

Lenin and Krupskaya found themselves in straightened mate rial 
circumstances. "We shall soon lose all our old means of subsistence," 
Nadezhda Konstantinovna wrote to Lenin's sister, Maria Ilyinichna 
Ulyanova, on December 14, 1915. In a letter to A. Shlyapnikov, Writtefl 
at the close of September and the beginning of October 1916, Lenin, 
who was accustomed to living extremely modestly, had to admit: 
"Speaking of myself personally, I must say that I need some sort of 
earnings, or things will be just hopeless, they really will. Prices are 
devilishly high and we have nothing to live on." He asked assistance 
in getting his Russian publishers to pay the royalties due to hinj 
and send him some books for translation. "If this is not organised I 

* Krasnaya Letopis No. 5, 1922, p. 236. 


really will not be able to hold out, this is absolutely serious, absolutely, 

^^g^Bolshevik group in the Fourth Stale Duma (A. Badayev, 
M Muranov, G. Petrovsky, F. Samoilov and N. Shagov) vigorously 

' ced the imperialist war. They were arrested in November 1914 and 
?ried in February 1915. 

In his article "What Has Been Revealed by the Trial of the Russiau 
Social-Democratic Labour Duma Group", Lenin spoke with pride of the 
fact that the trial had shown how broadly the Bolsheviks, for the first 
time in the history of the international socialist movement, had made 
use of the parliamentary tribune for the revolutionary cause of the 
proletariat and the scope of Bolshevik illegal anti-war activities among 
the proletarian masses. The prosecutor read out Lenin's theses on the 
war, found in the possession of the Duma deputies, and illegal leaflets 
issued by the Bolshevik groups and committees denouncing the 
imperialist war and advocating proletarian internationalism. In the 
first two months after the outbreak of the war, the Bolshevik Duma 
members toured practically the whole of Russia, addressing numerous 
workers' meetings, which adopted anti-war resolutions couched in the 
spirit of Lenin's Manifesto. 

The tsarist government wanted to pass the death sentence on the 
defendants. Not all of them spoke at the trial with the courage expected 
of them. Lenin condemned as impermissible for a revolutionary Social- 
Democrat the conduct of Kamenev, who was tried together with the 
Bolshevik deputies. Kamenev pleaded in court that he did not agree 
with the Central Committee on its attitude towards the war and, to 
prove that, asked that Jordansky, a Menshcvik supporter of the war, 
be summoned as a witness. That was not merely cowardice; it was an 
outright retreat from the Bolshevik Party's policy on a crucial issue. 
The five Bolshevik deputies and other defendants were exiled to Siberia. 

But the persecutions, difficulties and privations failed to break the 
will of the Bolshevik Party, which had been created and trained by 

From the very beginning of the war, Lenin lost a great deal of weight, 
grew pinched and became grimly solemn. He worked with indomitable 
energy to get the Party activities going properly and unite the Bolshevik 
groups abroad. He toured the Bolshevik organisations in Switzerland, 
"aying in his lectures the Mensheviks, Bundists and Trotskyites and 
explaining the meaning of the Central Committee Manifesto. 

At first Lenin refused to believe the rumour that Plckhanov had 
become a defencist. When he learned that Plckhanov, who had moved 
from Paris to Switzerland, had addressed a meeting in Geneva and was 
j-° address another one in Lausanne on September 28 (October 11), 
19 H, he decided to attend it. Plekhanov's speech was indeed a plea for 
support of the war. Though there was a large audience, Lenin was the 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35, p. 236. 


only one to ask for the floor. On mounting the platform he did \y L 
offer to shake hands with Plekhanov, and in his speech referred to !• ;T1 
as the "reporter" and not as "comrade". This was immediately noted by 
the audience. In the ten minutes at his disposal, Lenin could only < c ' t 
out the chief points of the Bolshevik Manifesto and the chief arguments 
against the defencists. 

To enable him to deal with the problem in greater detail, it was 
decided to arrange a lecture on "The Proletariat and the War" in the 
same hall, the Lausanne People's House, on October 1 (14). The hall 
was packed long before the lecture was due to begin. Lenin w. i n 
buoyant, fighting spirits. He showed up the social nature of the war 
as an imperialist war of aggrandisement on both sides. With great 
satisfaction he announced that the St. Petersburg and several other 
Party organisations in Russia had issued leaflets against the war. The 
Bolsheviks in Russia were doing what genuine socialists every w" ere 
should be doing-criticising their "own" government, exposing their 
"own" bourgeoisie, denouncing their "own" Ministers and tearing the 
mask first of all from their "own" opportunists. The lecture was followed 
with rapt attention and was an undoubted success. 

Equally successful was the lecture in Geneva on the following day, 
"The European War and Socialism", later repeated in Clarenz and 
Zurich. Lenin also spoke in Berne, giving a critical analysis of Mai v's 
lecture on the yfe 

Lenin's chief aim was to develop Party activity in Russia herself. He 
succeeded in arranging regular correspondence with members of the 
Central Committee in Petrograd, in re-establishing the C.C Bureau 
there and in establishing contact with the Party organisations in R -sia 
and with individual revolutionaries, who were opposed to the war. 
A. Shlyapnikov, resident in Stockholm as representative of thv St. 
Petersburg Committee and the Central Committee, kept Lenin in regular 
contact with the organisations in Petrograd and other parts of Russia. 
Every letter sent to Russia, every article contributed to Solsial-D^r 
breathed Lenin's optimism and deep faith in the revolutionary str jth 
and ability of the working class to wage a courageous struggle against 
the war. 

In November 1914, Lenin wrote: "The work of our Party has i&W 
become 100 times more difficult. And still we shall carry it on! Pra&d& 
has trained up thousands of class-conscious workers out of whom, in 
spite of all difficulties, a new collective of leaders-trie Russian C.C of 
the Party -will be formed."* 

"About forty thousand workers have been buying Prauda," n 
wrote somewhat later, "far more read it. Even if war, prison, Siberia 
and hard labour should destroy five or even ten times as many -this 
section of the workers cannot be annihilated. It is alive. It is imbued 
with the revolutionary spirit, is anti-chauvinist. It alone stands in the 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35, p. 175. 


idst of the masses, with deep roots in the latter, as the champion of 
the internationalism of the toilers, the exploited and the oppressed. It 
alone has held its ground in the general debacle. It alone is leading the 

j^i-proletarian elements away from the social-chauvinism of the 
Cadets, the Trudoviks, Plekhanov and Nasha Zarya, and toiaatds 

Bolshevik activity abroad, and even more so in Russia, aroused the 
fury of the imperialists and their ideological servitors. A slander 
campaign was launched against the Bolsheviks not only by the Russian 
bourgeoisie, but also by the Anglo-French bourgeoisie and the "social- 
ist" press, which accused them of "anti-patriotism". Lenin emphatically 
rejected this slander. His brilliant article "The National Pride of the 
Great Russians", published in SotsiahDemohrat, explained what 
patriotism meant and how it should be combined with internationalism. 
He wrote: 

"Is a sense of national pride alien to us, Great-Russian class- 
conscious proletarians? Certainly not! We love our language and our 
country, and we are doing our very utmost to raise her toiling masses 
(i.e., nine-tenths of her population) to the level of a democratic and 
socialist consciousness. To us it is most painful to see and feel the 
outrages, the oppression and the humiliation our fair country suffers at 
the hands of the tsar's butchers, the nobles and the capitalists. We take 
pride in the resistance to these outrages put up from our midst, from 
the Great Russians; in that midst having produced Radishchev,** the 
Decembrists and the revolutionary commoners of the seventies; in the 
Great-Russian working class having created, in 1905, a mighty revolu- 
tionary party of the masses; and in the Great-Russian peasantry having 
begun to turn towards democracy and set about overthrowing the clergy 

and the landed proprietors We are full of national pride because 

the Great-Russian nation, too, has created a revolutionary class, because 
it, too, has proved capable of providing mankind with great models 
°f the struggle for freedom and socialism."*** 

True defence of one's country, Lenin taught, did not mean following 
the example of the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries in 
supporting the tsar and the bourgeoisie, which had plunged into world 
war with the object of seizing and pillaging other nations. True defence 
°t one's country meant using all revolutionary means to fight the 
monarchy, the landowners and the capitalists of one's country, who 
Were the worst enemies,- it meant fighting the predatory war. By 
jjuvancing a slogan calling for the defeat of the tsarist autocracy in the 

ar and selflessly struggling against the reactionary social system and 
tfa 6 ^ nt ^ po P u ^ ar government, which was oppressing dozens of nations, 
e Bolsheviks came forward as a powerful internationalist force and. 

V- I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 176. 
tt^^^^dishchcu (1749-1S02) -outstanding Russian author and revolutionary 

** V. I, Lenin. Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 103. 



at the same time, as a truly patriotic organisation in their own country. 
The loftiest mission of the proletariat, led by the Bolsheviks., was to 
build socialism and effect the transition to communism. These objectives 
of the revolutionary Marxists, Lenin explained, did not run counter 
to the correctly understood national interests of the working people £ 
Russia. "The interests of the Great-Russians' national pride (under- 
stood, not in the slavish sense)/' he wrote, "coincide with the socialist 
interests of the Great-Russian (and all other) proletarians."" 

Lenin called upon Marxists to educate the working class in a i\ 
of consistent democracy, complete equality and fraternity, in a - bit 
of proletarian internationalism and socialist patriotism. 

On February 14-19 (February 27-March 4), 1915, he presided over 
a conference in Berne of R.S.D.L.P. organisations abroad and deliv .red 
an address on "The War and the Tasks of the Party". The conference 
resolutions on major issues, framed by Lenin, set out concrete mea 
for converting the imperialist war into a civil war: voting against war 
credits and resignation of socialists from bourgeois government s- no 
agreements with the bourgeoisie; total rejection of the "national peace" 
policy; building of illegal organisations wherever martial law has been 
introduced and repeal of constitutional liberties impeded legal activity; 
support of fraternisation at the front; support of every revolutionary 
proletarian mass action. This was a platform for rallying all the 
genuinely revolutionary internationalist elements in the world I; on- 

Krupskaya's mother, Yelizaveta Vasilyevna, who had accompanied 
Lenin and her in exile in Siberia and in emigration, died in March 1915. 
This wonderful, non-Party Russian woman always had the good g her 
son-in-law and daughter at heart and made herself useful to the Party, 
Among other things she kept house for the family, attended to the 
people who called upon Lenin, tailored sleeveless jackets in lien 
illegal literature was hidden, and drew the "skeletons" for i gal 
letters. While living in Switzerland she yearned to return to Russia but 
shortly before her death said she would go home together with her 
son-in-law and daughter. In her old age she broke with religion and 
in her will asked to be cremated without religious rites. Her i\ 
was fulfilled by Lenin and Krupskaya and her ashes were buried at the 
Bremgartcn Cemetery. 

In pursuance of the Berne decisions, the Bolshevik organisations in 
Russia developed extensive illegal revolutionary activity in the woi mn$t 
class centres, the navy and the army. This work was directed by i: • 
As soon as he learned that controversies had arisen in Party organisa- 
tions over tactics on pressing issues, he wrote his "Several These- . l ^ 
which he gave concise answers to all the cardinal questions of the 
revolutionary movement and defined the proletarian party's cona-ete 
tasks in Russia in conditions o£ the imperialist war. The basic Bolshevr 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works. Vol 21, p. 105. 


1 rrans he explained, remained the same: democratic republic, confis- 
5 don of tnc landed estates and the eight-hour day. But now to these 
C hould be added an appeal for international workers' solidarity against 
^ e war, for socialism and the revolutionary overthrow of the warring 

The principal task in the next stage of the Russian revolution, Lenin 
eX plained, was the establishment of a revolutionary-democratic dictator- 
ship of the proletariat and peasantry and the utilisation of that dictator- 
ship for a transition to the socialist revolution. "The imperialist war," 
Lenin wrote, "has linked up the Russian revolutionary crisis, which 
steins from a bourgeois-democratic revolution, with the growing crisis 
of the proletarian socialist revolution in the West. This link is so direct 
that no individual solution of revolutionary (problems] is possible in any 
single country-the Russian bourgeois-democratic revolution is now not 
only a prologue to, but an indivisible and integral part of, the socialist 
revolution in the West."' His reply to the question of what the prole- 
tarian party would do if in the present war it were brought to power 
by a revolution was: "We would propose peace to all the belligerents 
cn the condition that freedom is given to the colonies and all peoples 
that are dependent, oppressed and deprived of rights.""'" A 

After its initial victories, the tsarist army began to sustain defeat on 
all the major fronts. Its retreat from Galicia in the spring of 1915 was 
soon followed by the loss of Poland, part of the Baltic provinces and 
of Byelorussia. Millions of refugees fled to the interior of the country. 
The staggering burden that the war put on every working-class family 
and the soaring prices caused mounting discontent with the tsarist 
government and the bourgeoisie, which was battening on war contracts. 

The Bolsheviks led the working-class fight against the rising cost of 
living. They organised protest meetings, drawing new sections of the 
population into the movement, and showing them the direct connection 
between the high prices and the war policy of the tsarist government 
and the bourgeoisie. Already in August-September 1915, the political 
character of the economic strikes became more and more pronounced. 

In the autumn of 1915 Lenin centred his attention on the elections 
of the so-called "workers' groups" of the Central and Pctrograd War 
Industry committees. These were set up by the imperialist bourgeoisie 
^r the purpose of helping tsarism prosecute the war. In an attempt 
to bring the working class under their influence and induce them to 
jjake part in the "national defence" effort, the bourgeois leaders, working 
ha nd in glove with the Menshevik defencists, and with the consent and 
approval of the Duma and the tsar, decided to bring workers' repre- 
sentatives into these committees. It was hoped that this would divert the 
Workers from the class struggle. Lenin and the Bolsheviks, who were 
°Pposc-d in principle to the imperialist war, were therefore against any 
^^er^articipation in the committees. They explained the position 

* V. i. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 379. 
Ibid., pp. 403-04. 


to the workers. Bolshevik propaganda had its effect: only an insigni- 
ficant number of workers succumbed to Menshevik and Socialist-Revo- 
lutionary persuasion and took part in the elections. 

Lenin was therefore fully justified in stating, in his article "Socialism 
and War" (1915), that the proletariat was the only class in Russia 
"that has not been infected with chauvinism". The Russian working 
class refused to conclude a "class peace" with the bourgeoisie, and did 
not follow the social-chauvinists. It supported the policy of the Bolshevik 
Party, which never wavered in its internationalist duty, steadfastly 
holding aloft the banner of internationalism. 

The Bolsheviks were also active in the navy and the army. Their 
job was an extremely difficult one-courts-martial were functioning 
everywhere. The tsarist government retaliated to the strike movement 
by sending thousands of workers to the front. This was soon to become 
a regular practice. The objective was to suppress the revolutionary 
movement, but this had the reverse effect. Revolutionary, BoV ^ 
ideas penetrated into the very midst of the army. The ruling Glasses 
were thus objectively helping to convert the army from a weapon of 
the tsar into a weapon of the people against the tsar. 

In the autumn of 1915, the St. Petersburg Bolshevik Committee 
established close contact with the Central Collective of the Kron adt 
Military Organisation, the co ordinating centre of Bolshevik groups on 
ships of the Baltic Fleet. Bolshevik committees in Petrograd, Mos ;ow, 
Riga, Kiev, Kharkov and other major cities issued illegal leaflets caiiing 
on the soldiers and sailors to join with the working class against tsar- 
ism and to fraternise with enemy soldiers at the front. 

The landowner-bourgeois press and military authorities tried to drive 
a wedge between the army and the working class by putting all the 
blame for the reverses at the front on the striking workers. The Bolshe- 
viks exposed this provocation. 

Lenin attached the greatest importance to Bolshevik work amo Lhe 
troops. The army, he said, had absorbed the flower of the popular 
forces; in it were concentrated millions of peasants, most of them poor 
peasants, and a large section of the workers. By their persevering 
work in the tsarist army, the Bolsheviks were forging a fig! ting 
alliance of the working class and the peasantry and preparing the 
masses for the second revolution. 

The Bolsheviks proved to be ready for the struggle against the war 
and the overthrow of the imperialist government in their own country, 
because they had built up an efficient organisation capable of leading 
the masses against the imperialist war and imperialism. Lenin noted 
with a feeling of pride the enormous illegal work carried out by the 
St. Petersburg Committee during the war. "To Russia, and indeed to 
the entire International, this is indeed a model of Social-Democratic 
work during a reactionary war and in most difficult conditions."* 

• V. I. Lenin, Collected Works. Vol. 21, p. 401. 


Lenin musters the internationalist forces. Headed by Lenin, the 
Bolshevik Party was the organised, leading force able to bring to light 
and expose all the manoeuvres of the social-chauvinists. Centrists and 
other opportunist parties of the bankrupt Second International. It was 
only party that could initiate the mustering of all Left socialist 
r0U p S in the working-class movement under the banner of revolution- 
ary Marxism and undertake to organise a new proletarian Internation- 
al that would be free of opportunism. From the very outset of the war 
Lenin worked with his usual energy and perseverance to create a solid 
nucleus of the new, truly militant, revolutionary organisation of the 
world proletariat. 

His militant appeals to combat the imperialist war and break with 
the social-traitors did not, at first, meet with wide support in the 
international working-class movement. But that did not discourage him 
in any way. He embarked upon a relentless struggle against the 
opportunists, the supporters of Kautsky in particular. "The opportunists 
are an open evil," he wrote in October 1914. "The German 'Centre' 
headed by Kautsky is a concealed evil, diplomatically coloured over, 
contaminating the eyes, the mind and the conscience o£ the workers, and 
more dangerous than anything else. Our task now is the unconditional 
and open struggle against international opportunism and those who 
screen it (Kautsky). And this is what we shall do in the Central Organ. . . . 
This is an international task. It devolves on us, there is no one else. We 
must not retreat from it."* 

Lenin saw the danger of Kautskyism chiefly in the fact that while 
justifying the "middle", Centrist and, essentially, opportunist line of 
the socialist parties, it styled itself before the working class as the 
"Marxist centre" in the International. Kautsky screened his defencist 
stand with regard to the imperialist war with internationalist slogans 
and references to Marx, even though they concerned a different epoch 
and wars of a different nature. 

"Kautskyism," Lenin wrote, "is not fortuitous; it is the social product 
of the contradictions within the Second International, a blend of loyalty 
to Marxism in word, and subordination to opportunism in deed.""" 

Kautsky 's Centrist stand was supported by L. Trotsky, Y. Martov, 
N. Chkheidze and others in Russia, Henriette Roiand-Holst in the 
Netherlands, R. Grimm in Switzerland, J. Longuet and A. Pressemanne 
l & France, T. Barboni in Italy, Kh. Rakovski in Rumania, and so on. 

In the socialist parties, side by side with the social chauvinist and 
^entrist trends, there was a third trend represented by Left, interna- 
tionalist elements. With unflagging attention Lenin kept an eye on the 
stand of each Left group, on the activities of each genuinely Left 
socialist leader. He corresponded with many of them, helping them with 
ovice, patiently and in a comradely way pointing out their errors in 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35, p. 162. 
V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 312. 


a number of issues, explaining why and how opportunism had to be 
combated and drawing them closer to him. 

An abridged text of the Central Committee Manifesto on the War w s 
published in the Swiss La Sentmelle in November, Lenin at once 
this important document to the International Socialist Bureau am: 
French, German, British and Swedish Social-Democratic newspapt 

He welcomed the stand of the Italian Socialist Party, which in fch^ 
early period of the war did not succumb to chauvinism, condem: i 
the treacherous conduct of the German Social-Democrats and expelled 
a group of social-chauvinists and renegades (Mussolini and others). 
This stand was supported by the overwhelming majority of the It. [ 
working class. In Switzerland, where Lenin took an active part in the 
socialist movement, a Left socialist nucleus was gradually beinq 

A conference of Italian and Swiss socialists met in Lugano, Swi. p. 
land, on September 27, 1914, and at Lenin's request discussed his theses 
on the war. A number of the principles contained in these theses were 
incorporated in the conference resolution. The Lugano decisions, though 
not consistently internationalist and revolutionary, nonetheless re] & 
sented a first step towards a revival of international proletarian contacts. 

The imperialist war was opposed also by the revolutionary socialists 
cf Bulgaria, the Tesnyaks, led by Dimitr Blagoyev, and by the Scr 
Social-Democrats. When Lenin learned that the latter had voted ar; 
war credits, he publicly declared that they had discharged their pr le- 
tarian internationalist duty. He soon established direct contact with 
the Bulgarian and Serbian revolutionary Social-Democrats and helped 
them follow a consistent internationalist line. 

He was in regular correspondence with D. Wijnkoop, Anton Punne- 
koek and other Left-wing socialists in Holland grouped around lie 
newspaper De Tribune. He also established contact, through Alexandra 
Kollontai and A. Shlyapnikov, with leaders of the Left-wing soda sts 
in Norway and Sweden. In the war years the Swedish Left-wing social- 
ists* were a fairly strong body-they published three daily newspapers 
and had thirteen members in Parliament. 

Lenin was especially gratified at the news that Eugene V. D bs, 
leader of the American socialist Left wing, had come out in active 
opposition to the imperialist war. The U.S. Government sentenced his 
outstanding labour leader to ten years' imprisonment for his anti -var 

Lenin closely followed the rise and development of the Left opposi- 
tion in the German Social-Democratic Party. He enthusiastically 
welcomed the news that the revolutionary socialists in Germany-the 
International group, the forerunner of the Spartacus League, headed 
by Karl Licbknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, Clara Zetkin, Franz M eh ring, 
J. Marhlewski, Leo Jogichcs (Tyszka) and Wilhelm Pieck-had taken a 
firm stand against the war. Licbknecht, Lenin said, had set an example 
to all internationalists by voting in the Reichstag against war credits. 


Lenin was fully aware that the Left forces in the West were still 
extremely weak and that their campaign against chauvinism and for 
internationalism was still feeble, disunited and not always sustained. 
But he was not discouraged. "No matter that we are few, we will be 
followed by millions," he said to his associates. He had unswerving 
faith in the inevitable victory of proletarian internationalism throughout 
the world labour movement. 

A conference of socialists of the Allied countries (Britain, France, 
Belgium, Russia) met in London on February 14, 1915. The Bolsheviks 
were not invited, but Lenin drew up a draft statement of the Bolshevik 
Central Committee and M, Litvinov was instructed to read it at the 
conference. The statement demanded that socialists resign from the 
bourgeois governments of Belgium and France, that socialists in the 
Allied countries abandon the "civil peace" slogan, refuse to vote for 
war credits and refuse to support Russian tsarism. The conference 
chairman prevented Litvinov from reading the statement to the end. 
Litvinov handed it to the chairman and walked out of the conference 
in protest, declaring that the Bolsheviks would have no part in this 
social-chauvinist forum. 

Two international conferences were held in Berne in 1915. These 
were an International Women's Conference (end of March) and an 
International Socialist Youth Conference (beginning of April). At both 
these conferences the Bolsheviks submitted draft resolutions; the one 
for the Women's Conference was framed by Lenin, and the other, for 
the Youth Conference, was drawn up under his direction. Neither of 
the resolutions was adopted but they played a definite part in bringing 
Bolshevik policy to the knowledge of the many young people and women 
who were anxious to find a correct way out of the imperialist war. 

The appeal of the Women's Conference called on working women 
to extend a hand of friendship to each other across the battle fronts, 
across the mountains of corpses and the oceans of blood and tears. The 
toil-hardened hands of the workers and peasants, the appeal said, must 
be joined in an unbreakable bond of international solidarity. The appeal 
was widely circulated in many countries. 

The Youth Conference elected an International Socialist Youth Bureau, 
w hich started publication of a magazine, Jugend- Internationale. Lenin 
Save this Bureau and its magazine all the assistance he could, con- 
tributing several articles to the magazine. 

The discussions in the press, at meetings and at Lenin's own lectures, 
Us correspondence and talks with Left-wing socialists of various 
countries, and the debates at the Women's and Socialist Youth confer- 
ees, made it plain to Lenin that in the West the Left forces were still 
I'origly influenced by the Centrists on basic issues of war, peace, 
evolution and socialism. He knew that unity of the Left on a platform 
-Evolutionary Marxist theory and tactics could be achieved only by 

Hying on a resolute struggle against Kautsky's falsification of 

ai *xism and by painstaking explanatory work. 


Kautsky and the other Second International revisionists contended 
that the new developments in capitalism made the basic propositions 
of Marx's Capital "obsolete". It was, therefore, essential not only to 
safeguard revolutionary Marxism against renewed revisionist distor- 
tions, but to develop it further by analysing the new features of social 
development and the new experience of the proletarian class struggle, 
Lenin wrote : 

"The world's greatest movement for liberation of the oppressed class, 
the most revolutionary class in history, is impossible without a revolu- 
tionary theory. That theory cannot be thought up. It grows out of the 
sum-total of the revolutionary experience and the revolutionary think ig 
of all countries in the world. Such a theory has developed since the 
second half of the nineteenth century. It is known as Marxism. One 
cannot be a socialist, a revolutionary Social-Democrat, without parlici- 
pating, in the measure of one's powers, in developing and applying that 
theory, and without waging a ruthless struggle today against i@ 
mutilation of this theory by Plekhanov, Kautsky and Co, '* 

"Philosophical Notebooks". During the First World War Lenin 
elaborated and further developed every facet of revolutionary Marxism- 
the theory of socialist revolution, Marxist economics and Marxist 
philosophy-in their indissoluble unity. He made an exhaustive study 
of materialist dialectics which, he said, is the living soul, "the theoretical 
foundation" of Marxism, the algebra of proletarian revolution. Only by 
taking materialist dialectics as a starting-point is it possible to make a 
profound Marxist analysis of the principal features and contradictions 
of imperialism, reveal the predatory nature of the First World War, 
provide theoretical substantiation for proletarian strategy and tactics, 
and expose the opportunism and social-chauvinism of the Second 
International leaders as well as dogmatism and sectarianism in the 
revolutionary socialist movement. 

The task was not only to safeguard the purity of Marxist dialectics 
and expose revisionist attempts to replace it by vulgar evolutionism, 
sophistry and eclectics. It was also necessary to advance the seienee of 
materialist dialectics, in the light of the new conditions of history ind 
the new experience of the liberation movement, as an efft ive 
instrument of understanding the world and remaking it by revolt! : on. 

The years 1914 and 1915 were devoted to re-reading Hegel, Aristotle, 
Feuerbach and other philosophers, and also works on natural sc ; ace. 
Lenin's copious notes and comments, unfinished essays and other 
materials were subsequently published under the title Philosop 

Lenin evidently intended to use them for a book on materialist 
dialectics, but, unfortunately, was unable to carry the worktocompleLion. 
But even uncompleted, the Philosophical Notebooks arc an om - l } lC 
continuation of his chief philosophical work, Materialism and Empu' 10 ' 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 354. 

Criticism, and constitute a new step in the creative development of 
Marxist philosophy. For in the Notebooks Lenin dealt with a wide range 
f philosophical problems, with special accent on Marxist dialectics. 
° He comprehensively showed, for the first time in the history of 
science, the diversity of features, aspects, elements and categories of 
dialectics as the most profound theory of development. Schcmaticism 
and dogmatism, Lenin said, is alien to dialectics. And while dialectics 
expresses the most general laws of every process of development, it 
requires a concrete analysis of reality and the multitude of forms in 
which reality is revealed to us. 

For the first time in the history of Marxism, Lenin formulated and 
substantiated, in the Philosophical Notebooks, the key proposition that 
the very essence, the kernel, of dialectics is the study of the unity of 
opposites. "In brief, dialectics can be defined as the doctrine of the unity 
of opposites. This embodies the essence of dialectics. . . ."* Lenin enriched 
and concretised Marxist dialectics by his analysis and interpretive 
integration of the new types and kinds of contradictions in the imperial- 
ist era, of the new ways in which opposites are transformed into one 
another, of the transition, the growing over, of one phenomenon into 

The struggle of opposites, the rise and settlement of contradictions, 
Lenin pointed out, are the source of uninterrupted development in the 
material world, the conditions necessary for its progress. He denounced 
the attempts of the opportunist Second International leaders to "purge" 
reality of contradictions and struggle. The central axis of dialectics is 
constant development through struggle of antithetical forces and 
tendencies, through struggle between the old and the new. Hence, Lenin 
emphasised, the basic conclusion to be drawn from dialectics is that 
the new, the growing, the progressive, is invincible, that its victory over 
the old, obsolescent and reactionary is inevitable. The old is negated by 
the new, but this should be understood from the standpoint of 
materialist dialectics, which precludes bald negation as leading to an 
interruption in development, to a break in the connection between the 
old and the new. 

Marxist dialectics regards "negation as a moment of connection, as a 
moment of development, retaining the positive".** Without this there 
can be no progress either in nature or society. 

Lenin's analysis of all the laws and categories of materialist dialectics 
as a philosophical science is remarkable for its profundity, militant 
Jjaterialist spirit, close link with reality and organic connection with 
n policy of the proletarian party. His masterly application of the 
^rxist dialectical method in analysing the new era in history became 
I basis of his new discoveries, which gave the proletariat a clear, 
exible, comprehensive, and far-seeing theory and tactics on the 
J^stions of revolutionary transformations of society. 

* V. r. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 38, p. 223. 
ibid., p. 226. 


Against social-chauvinism. In 1915, Lenin wrote a number of important 
articles: "The Collapse of the Second International", "Opportunism and 
the Collapse of the Second International", "Socialism and War", "The 
Defeat of One's Own Government in the Imperialist War", "On th e 
Slogan for a United States of Europe". In 1916, he wrote his classic 
Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, his splendid articles 
"Imperialism and the Split in Socialism", "The Military Programme of 
the Proletarian Revolution", "The 'Disarmament' Slogan", and his 
programmatic studies of the national question. A bare listing of these 
works illustrates the tremendous scale of Lenin's activities. They co« er 
a wide range of problems and comprehensively and profoundly expound 
Bolshevik policy as opposed to the opportunist stand of the Second 

Lenin disclosed the roots of the disgraceful conduct of most of the 
European Social-Democratic leaders. He showed that the collapse of 
the Second International was the collapse of opportunism, which >d 
risen and grown in the period of capitalism's so-called "peaceful" 
development, and, in the years preceding the war, became the dominant 
trend in the International. The ideas underlying social-chauvimsm, 
opportunism and opportunist policy were renunciation of the class 
struggle and proletarian dictatorship, of socialist revolution in £ai . ur 
of bourgeois reformism and class collaboration in capitalist society :he 
preachment of bourgeois nationalism, blind faith in the bom:; ois 
parliamentary system and legality, and refusal to support the 
revolutionary actions of the proletariat against its "own" bourgeoisie. 

Their economic basis was that the imperialist bourgeoisie bribed 
"labour leaders", threw sops to the labour aristocracy and created a 
privileged position for part of the workers with the purpose of div ing 
them from the revolutionary struggle against imperialism. "An entire 
social stratum, consisting of parliamentarians, journalists, labour 
officials, privileged office personnel, and certain strata of the prolet tat, 
has sprung up and has become amalgamated with its own national 
bourgeoisie, which has proved fully capable of appreciating iftd 
'adapting' it."* This stratum of workers grafted with its bourgc- sie, 
this "labour aristocracy", constituted the chief support of the Second 

Lenin also revealed that the bourgeoisie was able to buy over p. 
the workers because of its high monopoly profits derived from the 
exploitation and rapine of colonial and other nations. In his "Imp^'ia* - 
ism and the Split in Socialism", he wrote: "A handful of Wealthy 
countries-there are only four of them, if we mean independent, really 
gigantic, 'modern' wealth: England, France, the United States IP* 
Germany-have developed monopoly to vast proportions, they obtain 
superprofits running into hundreds, if not thousands, of millions, they 
'ride on the backs' of hundreds and hundreds of millions of people ^ 

* V. t Lenin, Collected Works. Vol. 21, p. 250. 


ther countries "* The organisation, at the expense of these supcr- 

° -ofits of "bourgeois labour parties" was an inevitable and typical 
Future of a ^ imperialist countries. And these parties "are working hand 
■ qlove with the imperialist bourgeoisie precisely towards creating an 
imperialist Europe on the backs of Asia and Africa "** 

Reading these lines now, nearly half a century after they were written, 
millions of people throughout the world ask themselves: are not the 
reactionary Right-wing socialist leaders doing the same thing today? 
Are they not trying to help the imperialist bourgeoisie halt the rapid 
process of the collapse of colonialism and suppress the national 
liberation movement? But all such attempts are in vain, for there is no 
stemming the tide of history; the historical process is irreversible. 

Lenin conclusively proved that during the imperialist war the oppor- 
tunists and chauvinists owed their greater strength to their alliance with 
the bourgeoisie, the governments and general staff. Before the war that 
alliance had been secret; now there was no secret. 

Kautsky tried to justify his betrayal of socialism by pleading that 
revolutionary tactics would have unpleasant "practical conscquenccs"- 
the government would smash legal labour organisations, confiscate their 
funds and arrest their leaders. In fact, a German Social-Democratic 
M.P. made the following cowardly statement at a workers' meeting in 
Berlin: "All of us would have been arrested if we had not voted for war 
credits on August 4." There were shouts from the audience: "Well, and 
what if you had?" Lenin approved of this reaction of the Berlin workers, 
adding that in the absence of any other event that would fire the 
revolutionary sentiment of the working masses and stir them to 
revolutionary action, the arrest of an M.P. for a courageous speech in 
parliament would have been a useful thing indeed. 

The burden of exposing the treachery of the opportunists, their 
manoeuvring and their shameful deals with the bourgeoisie devolved 
on Lenin. This earned him the blind hatred of his political adversaries. 
In December 1916 he wrote to Inessa Armand: 

"Such is my fate. One battle after another against political stupidity, 
vulgarity, opportunism, etc. 

'Tt has been going on since 1893. And so has the hatred of the 
Philistines on account of it. But still, I would not exchange this fate for 
peace' with the philistines."*** 

Lenin was never at odds with his crystal-clear conscience and consistent 
Principles as a revolutionary and Communist. 

He convincingly showed the need for an organisational as well as 
geological break with the opportunists, "The whole struggle of our 
art y (and of the working-class movement in Europe generally)," he 
Wl 'ote, "must be directed against opportunism. The latter is not a current 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 23, p. 115. 
. m Ihid., p. 110, 

* V. r. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35, p. 259. 


of opinion, not a tendency; it (opportunism) has now become the 
organised tool of the bourgeoisie within the working-class movement."* 
He said that any struggle against imperialism that was not linked u p 
with the struggle against opportunism was merely an empty sound o r 
deceit. He urged the Lefts in Germany and other countries to defy the 
opportunist leaders and build a new type of fighting organisation 
genuinely revolutionary working-class parties. 

He wrote that the Bolsheviks, the Russian internationalists, were not 
making any claim to interfere in the internal affairs of their Left 
comrades. "We understand," he pointed out, "that they alone are fully 
competent to determine their methods of combating the opportunists, 
according to the conditions of time and place. Only we consider it our 
right and our duty to express our frank opinion on the state of affairs."** 
Lenin and the Bolsheviks led by him based their relations y.ith 
the Left groups in other countries on equality and on principles of 
proletarian internationalism. 

Lenin on the nature of wars in the imperialist era. The opportunist 
Social-Democratic leaders tried to dupe the workers by giving a 
"Marxist" slant to government and bourgeois press propaganda about the 
war being fought in defence of freedom and national existence. In c- ;ry 
belligerent country the social-chauvinists tried to prove that h 
particular country and its allies were waging a just war. The Centrists 
headed by Kautsky maintained that the socialists of all the belligerent 
powers had an equal right to "defend the fatherland". Lenin denounced 
this as a most infamous defence of imperialism, as a shameful attempt 
to justify the "right" of workers to kill each other "in defence of the 
fatherland", in defence of imperialist war profits. 

Both the avowed social-chauvinists and the Kautskyites slandered 
the revolutionary internationalists and their country and tried to sow 
confusion, vacillation and disbelief in their ranks, and isolate them 
from the Bolsheviks. In the neutral and some other countries, the L 
recognised that the war was an imperialist one and declared their 
loyalty to the proletarian class struggle, but did not appreciate the need 
to turn the imperialist war into a civil war. They were not clear about 
the question of the types of wars engendered by imperialism. 

Lenin gave them timely assistance. In the pamphlet Socialism and 
War and in other works he made the question of war clear from 'he 
standpoint of genuine Marxism and further developed Marxist theory 
on wars and on the attitude of socialists to them. 

Socialists, he wrote, have always condemned war between natic 
brutal and barbarous. But inasmuch as wars account for centuries of 
human history, Marxists must carefully study and disclose the causes 
underlying them and devise ways and means by which the working class 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35, p. 197. 
V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 326. 


and the working people generally can effectively oppose imperialist 

W ^n his research on the subject, Lenin proved that war is the continua- 
. Q f politics by other means. Every war must be seen as the continuation 
j t j, e peacetime policy of the state and its ruling classes. 

° in the imperialist era, Lenin taught, the two main types of war are: 

1) Unjust, imperialist wars for the conquest and enslavement of 
other countries and peoples, the destruction of socialist states, and the 
sU pp reS sion of socialist, democratic and national liberation movements. 
Wars of this type must be resolutely opposed by every possible means, 
U p to and including revolution and the overthrow of one's own imperialist 

2) Just wars waged to defend the people from foreign attack and 
from attempts to enslave them, or to liberate the working people from 
feudal and capitalist slavery and colonial and dependent countries from 
imperialist oppression, or to defend the socialist state against imperial- 
ist attack. The working people should give every possible support to 
wars of this type. 

Some of the Left socialists in the West believed that in the imperialist 
era Marxists should, in general, be opposed to the defence of the father- 
land. In justification of that position they cited the proposition pro- 
claimed by Marx and Engels in the Communist Manilesto-, "The working 
men have no country." Lenin came out against this vulgar, non-historical 
approach to Marxism. He wrote: 

"The whole spirit of Marxism, its whole system, demands that each 
proposition should be considered (a) only historically, (p) only in 
connection with others, (7) only in connection with the concrete 
experience of history."* 

This implies that the proletariat must define its attitude towards 
defence of the fatherland in context with the concrete historical situation. 
The first consideration should always be: which class calls for defence 
of the fatherland, and for what purpose? In a situation of a mounting 
national liberation movement and the need to uphold national independ- 
ence, defence of the fatherland becomes the most vital task of the 
People, and the working class should be the first to rise in defence of 
the country's freedom and independence. History has proved that the 
working class is the genuinely patriotic class. Defence of the fatherland 
ln a national liberation war, Lenin stressed, fully accords with the spirit 
°f Marxism. 

It is quite another matter, however, when in an imperialist war the 
bourgeoisie exploits the slogan of "defence of the fatherland" to deceive 
the masses and conceal its self-seeking and predatory interests. In this 
situation it is quite natural for the working class not only to reject the 
.,°3^ n » but to expose its imperialist nature, wage a struggle against 

e lm perialist war, a struggle to liberate all working people from 

V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35, p. 250. 


exploitation and oppression. That, Lenin declared, accords with th@ 
interests of the entire international proletariat. 

National interests do not run counter to the international interests of 
the working class. On the contrary: only a correct understanding f 
its international tasks enables the working class to accomplish its 
national tasks. Emphasising the significance of this community of 
fundamental international tasks of the workers of all countries, Lenin 
wrote: "The international unity of the workers is more important than 
the national."* For only through firm, ever-expanding and ever- 
strengthening unity can the working class and the working people 
generally attain their cherished goal of peace and socialism. 

In connection with the first imperialist war Lenin advanced a number 
of profound ideas on the prospects of excluding wars from the life of 
society. First and foremost, he emphasised that as a social system social- 
ism strives to end wars and establish lasting peace on earth. "An end 
to wars, peace among the nations, the cessation of pillaging and 
violence-such is our ideal,"*''' he wrote in 1915. He pointed out that as 
distinct from bourgeois pacifists, Marxists understand the "inevihible 
connection between wars and the class struggle within the country"; 
they understand that "war cannot be abolished unless classes are 
abolished and socialism is created". 

In providing theoretical grounds for the thesis that war is incv: ble 
under imperialism, he based himself on the following facts. First, by 
its very nature imperialism is a source of war, and as long as imperial- 
ism exists the economic basis and the threat of war will remain. Second, 
during the First World War imperialism was the only social system 
with undivided sway in the world, and the question of war and peace 
was decided by the imperialist, financial-industrial oligarchy in secret 
from the peoples. In that period the working class and other peace- 
loving forces were disunited and weak and were unable to p cnt 
imperialist predatory and other criminal wars. 

Epoch-making events that have radically changed the balam ol 
political, economic and military forces in the world in favour of the 
peace camp, have taken place since these major theoretical propo^iioiis 
were formulated by Lenin. Today, in addition to imperialism, there is 
the rapidly growing world socialist system. 

The new world balance of power brought the Communist Party 0* 
the Soviet Union to the confident, Leninist conclusion that work! wai' 
can be averted. 

The slogan of "disarmament" was relatively widespread among 
pacifist and socialist circles in Europe and the United States during the 
First World War. It was used by the social-pacifists to oppose the 
Bolshevik slogan of turning the imperialist war into a civil war. Unde* 
the circumstances, Lenin, naturally, could not support the slogan ot 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works. Vol. 35, p. 247. 
** V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 293. 


disarmament because it weakened the struggle of the working class 
against world imperialism. 

In principle, he explained, socialism desired disarmament. "Disarma- 
ment is the ideal of socialism. There will be no wars in socialist society; 
consequently, disarmament will be achieved,"* he said. Peace, disarma- 
ment and socialism are interconnected and inseparable. 

It was for the attainment of these great humanistic ideals that he 
worked to consolidate all the internationalist elements during the 
imperialist war, resolutely combated chauvinism and summoned the 
working class and the labouring masses to socialist revolution and the 
establishment of their own power. 

The situation during the imperialist war, Lenin said, gave the 
working class the alternative: . . either we allow ourselves to be killed 
in the interests of the imperialist bourgeoisie, or we systematically 
prepare the majority of the exploited, and ourselves, for seizure-at the 
price of less sacrifice-of the banks and expropriation of the bourgeoisie 
in order to put an end to the high cost of living and war."** 

Socialist revolution, he repeatedly explained, entails certain sacrifices, 
but they are a drop in the ocean compared with the oceans of blood 
mankind sheds in imperialist wars. 

During the imperialist war, he pointed out, society took the latter 
path of development, the path of the socialist revolution. The correct 
logan in the situation created by the imperialist war was not disarma- 
ent but the armed struggle of the working class and working people 
general against imperialism, i.e., the slogan that the imperialist war 
hould be turned into a civil war. 

But Lenin foresaw that after the socialist revolution had triumphed 
in one or several countries, the victorious proletariat would have to raise 
the question of world disarmament. Indeed, when Soviet power was 
established he considered it necessary to put forward and implement a 
rogramme of disarmament. 

"Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism". Early in 1916, Lenin 
~gan working on a book about imperialism for Parus, a newly 
tablished legal publishing house in Petrograd. An analysis of the 
-onomic and political essence of imperialism was required to enable 
the working class to further its revolutionary struggle. Without this 
analysis it was impossible to provide the revolutionary movement with 
correct leadership. 

Lenin had noted the new phenomena in capitalist development in 
works written long before the war. In his first works, written during the 
war, particularly in the resolution "On the Nature of the War", which 
tne Berne Conference of R.S.D.L.P. groups abroad (early in March 1915) 
aopted as its resolution, he gave a definition and political assessment 
^imperialism. In the summer of 1916, he completed his classical 

* V I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 23, p. 95. 
Ibid., p. 161. 

1<H555 241 

c+~y* * ** ***** <*f*****< 


2^ <f * -*£r*/ 

First page from Lenin's manuscript Imperialism, the Highest Stage 
ot Capitalism (Reduced) 

Imperialism, the Highest Stage oi Capitalism, which Is an outstanding 
contribution to the treasure-store of creative Marxism. In it he m ikes 
a comprehensive investigation of imperialism. 

It is the result of immense scientific research, in the course o£ which 
Lenin made a thorough study of a vast quantity of factual data on the 
development of social relations in different countries in the epoch ot 
imperialism. He utilised hundreds of books, articles, pamphlets and 
statistical handbooks published in different countries and »r» ' ' n J 
on economics, technology, domestic and, in particular, 


- n policy, the labour movement, and the colonial and many other 
blenis. His notes for the book, subsequently published under the 
PJP Notebooks on Imperialism, form a volume of nearly 50 quires. In 
^imperialism, the Highest Stage oi Capitalism we again see Lenin as a 
h 'illiant scholar, a scrupulous researcher and great revolutionary. 

In it he traces the development of world capitalism over the course 
f half a century after the publication of Marx's Capital. Basing himself 
on the laws of the emergence, development and decline of capitalism, 
discovered by Marx and Engels, he was the first to give a profound 
scientific analysis of the economic and political substance of imperialism 
as a special, the highest, and, at the same time, last stage oi capitalism, 
showing that under imperialism all the contradictions of capitalist 
society inevitably become aggravated. He characterises imperialism as 
monopoly imperialism and, at the same time, as parasitical, decaying 
and dying capitalism, disclosing the conditions that will bring on its 
end and demonstrating that capitalism will inevitably and necessarily 
be superseded by socialism. 

Lenin gives the following classical, scientifically and theoretically 
precise and profound definition of the substance of imperialism: 
"Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the 
dominance of monopolies and finance capital is established; in which 
the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the 
division of the world among the international trusts has begun; in which 
the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist 
powers has been completed."* 

His proposition that at this stage there is a swing to reaction all 
along the line is of immense importance for a characterisation of the 
new imperialist epoch. Monopoly capital establishes its dictatorship 
over society, suppressing not only the working class but also the 
democratic liberation movement and abolishing the already curtailed 
bourgeois-democratic rights and freedoms. In particular, national oppres- 
sion heightens and the monopolies show an increasing desire for 
annexations, i.e., for transgressions against the national independence 
and sovereignty of peoples. 

Monopoly rule, Lenin explained, signifies a sharp intensification of 
the exploitation of the working class and an exacerbation of the contra- 
dictions between labour and capital, of the contradictions leading to 
&e proletarian revolution. It worsens the condition of the working class 
and leads to the ruin of the bulk of the peasants and the urban petty 
bourgeoisie, to increased dissatisfaction among them. This creates the 
objective conditions tor cementing the alliance between the working 
class and the labouring peasants. That alliance is the principal force 
111 the struggle against the imperialist bourgeoisie. 

Furthermore, subjection of all the nations to a handful of "Great 
owers", the sharp intensification of colonial oppression, the brutal 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 22, pp. 266-67. 


exploitation of the hundreds of millions in the colonial and dependent 
countries must inevitably result in the growth of the national liber. 
movement and make for a united front of struggle of the proletariat of 
the capitalist countries and the colonial and dependent peoples against 
imperialism. Lenin's scientific analysis of the contradictions of 
capitalism at its last stage brought him round to the conclusion that 
imperialism is the eve ol the socialist revolution. The revolution u-y 
transition to socialism had now become a vital necessity. 

Lenin showed that during the war imperialism had taken a new step 
towards greater concentration of finance capital, towards the growing- 
over ol monopoly capitalism into state-monopoly capitalism. This 
increased still more the material prerequisites for a revolutionary 
transition to socialism. The gigantic expansion of the productive forces 
and socialisation of production under monopoly capitalism had come 
into irreconcilable contradiction with the capitalist relations of produc- 
tion. These relations, Lenin noted, constituted "a shell which no longer 
fits its contents, a shell which must inevitably decay if its removal 
is artificially delayed, a shell which may remain in a state of decay 
for a fairly long period (if, at the worst, the cure of the opporL. nisi 
abscess is protracted), but which will inevitably be removed."* 

Imperialism, Lenin showed, was able to hold on chiefly because o1 the 
support of the opportunists and the split in the working class engine red 
by them. At the same time, he pointed out, the tendency under imperi Spi 
was towards a sharper mass struggle against oppression by monopoly 

In "Imperialism and the Split in Socialism" (1916), he wrote: "On the 
one hand, there is the tendency of the bourgeoisie and the opporl sts 
to convert a handful of very rich and privileged nations into 'eternal' 
parasites on the body of the rest of mankind, to 'rest on the laurels' of 
the exploitation of Negroes, Indians, etc., keeping them in subjection 
with the aid of the excellent weapons of extermination provider, by 
modern militarism. On the other hand, there is the tendency of the 
masses, who are more oppressed than before and who bear the whole 
brunt of imperialist wars, to cast off this yoke and to overthrow the 
bourgeoisie. It is in the struggle between these two tendencies that the 
history of the labour movement will now inevitably develop." 

This law of social development in the era of imperialism, disco , red 
by Lenin, has been fully confirmed by history. 

In his work Lenin showed the utter scientific groundlessness and 
exposed the reformist substance of Kautsky's "ultra-imperialism" theory* 
which endeavours to whitewash capitalism. He refuted Kautsky's thesis 
that the creation of international monopoly alliances weakens the 
contradictions within the world capitalist system and eliminates crises 
and wars. Ridiculing this tale of Kautsky's, he noted: "Are act tiie 

* V. L Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 303. 

* Ibid., Vol. 23, p. 116. 


•nternational cartels which Kautsky imagines are the embryos of 'ultra- 
jjaperialism' ... an example of the division and the re-division of the 
^orld, the transition from peaceful division to non-peaceful division and 
vice versa?"* 

He foresaw the possibility that monopoly capital would unite on a 
world scale not only in the form of international monopolies but also in 
the form of agreements between entire states. "In this sense," he wrote, 
"a United States of Europe is possible as an agreement between the 
European capitalists . . . but to what end? Only for the purpose of jointly 
suppressing socialism in Europe, of jointly protecting colonial booty."" " 

Are not the present imperialist plans of "integrating" capitalist- 
economy, of setting up blocs of the "Common Market" type spearheaded 
against the world socialist system and the international working-class 
movement, against the less developed countries, particularly in Asia, 
Africa and Latin America? At the same time, facts prove that class 
solidarity of the monopolist bourgeoisie with regard to the forces of 
socialism and democracy cannot, as Lenin foresaw it, remove the basic, 
the most deeply-rooted inter-imperialist contradictions. To remove these 
contradictions there must be a transition to socialism on a world scale. 

In the Party Programme drawn up in the period of the Second 
R.S.D.L.P. Congress, Lenin had formulated a damning indictment or 
Russian capitalism. During the First World War he formulated, with 
supreme scientific precision and revolutionary passion, an indictment of 
world imperialism, which was dragging mankind into the abyss of new 
devastating wars and economic disaster. 

"Imperialism, the Highest Stage ol Capitalism" represents a new, 
Leninist stage oi the development ol Marxian economic theory. 

Lenin's brilliant analysis of the fundamental laws of capitalism at its 
last stage has been confirmed by the reality of modern capitalism, winch 
is characterised vividly and profoundly in the new Party Programme 
adopted at the Twenty-Second Congress of the C.P.S.U. 

Lenin's Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism is a sharp 
militant weapon in the struggle against the latest bourgeois and social- 
reformist "theories" of "people's capitalism", against the attempts to 
9iye state-monopoly capitalism out for socialism. 

. The theory of socialist revolution. On the basis of his own study of 
imperialism Lenin further developed the Marxist theory of socialist 
evolution, its content, its motive forces and conditions and forms of 
development, in the new epoch. He proved that the war had accelerated 
w i? 70 *** 1 of thc re< 3 uisitcs for revolution and that as a whole the 

»ld capitalist system had matured for the transition to socialism. 

in Grundsdt'ze des Kommunismus {Principles ot Communism) (1347), 

Po^ki Ilad rcplied in the ne 9 ative to the question of whether it was 
ssible to accomplish a socialist revolution in one country. Proceeding 

** £ Lenin ' Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 273. 
tbid., Vol. 21, p. 341. 


from the fact that the world market and large-scale industry had levelled 
"social development in all civilised countries", Engels drew a conclusion 
that Marx also agreed with, namely, that ". . . the communist revolu- 
tion . . . will take place simultaneously in all civilised countries, i.e., at 
least, in England, the United States, France and Germany". Later Marx 
and Engels analysed the objective and subjective prerequisites of the 
proletarian revolution in different capitalist countries, and the maturity 
of the capitalist system as a whole for the transition to socialism, and 
concretised and specified their views on the prospects and course of the 
socialist revolution. However, living as they did in the period of pre- 
monopoly capitalism, they neither raised nor could raise the ques on 
of the possibility of socialism being triumphant in one country. 

One of Lenin's greatest services was that in creatively developing the 
teachings of Marx and Engels in the new historical conditions, in the 
epoch of imperialism, he came to the key conclusion that socialism can 
be victorious first in one country that docs not necessarily have to be 
at a high level of economic development. He drew this conclusion on 
the basis of the law, discovered by him, of the uneven economic md 
political development of capitalism in the imperialist era; this devel- 
opment inevitably leads to the uneven maturing of the socialist revolution 
in different countries. Lenin first formulated this conclusion in Aujust 
1915 in the article "On the Slogan for a United States of Eurcp 

"Uneven economic and political development," he wrote in this aiviclc, 
"is an absolute law of capitalism. Hence, the victory of socialism is 
possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone. "* 

In September 1916, in the article "The Military Programme of the 
Proletarian Revolution", he amplified his views on the prospects for 
socialist revolution in the imperialist era and on the conditions for its 

"The development of capitalism proceeds extremely unevenly in 
different countries. It cannot be otherwise under commodity production. 
From this it follows irrefutably that socialism cannot achieve victory 
simultaneously in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or 
several countries, while the others will for some time remain bourgeois 
or pre-bourgcois."** 

Lenin's theory that socialism can be victorious first in one country is 
a model of creative development of revolutionary Marxism and was the 
greatest discovery of Marxist science. 

He demonstrated the unsoundness of the stand of those who continued 
to cling to the old formulation of this issue by the founders of scientific 
Marxism. He exposed the anti-Marxist substance of Trotsky's slog.? 11 of 
a socialist "United States of Europe" and criticised Pyatakov, WOT 
defined the socialist revolution as the "united action of the proletarians 
of all countries". 

• V. J. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 342. 
** Ibid,, Vol. 23, p. 79. 


Lenin's theory that socialism can be victorious in one country gave 
the working class a clear perspective in its struggle for the dictatorship 
of the proletariat and socialism. It provided the working class and the 
Marxist party of each country with the possibility of showing initiative 
in overthrowing the bourgeoisie of their country by revolution. 

In the years of the imperialist war Lenin continued to develop his 
theory ot the revolutionary situation, which was to be of immense 
significance for the practical activities of the Marxist parties. Popular 
revolutions do not take place at the whim of one or another party. The 
masses rise to struggle under the influence of factors deeply rooted in 
their objective conditions of life. Capitalism itself creates the conditions 
that make mass revolutionary action inevitable; capitalist development 
impels the masses to struggle. Lenin showed that revolution cannot be 
"made to order", that it grows out of objectively maturing crises. And 
these crises he called revolutionary situations. 

"To the Marxist it is indisputable that a revolution is impossible 
without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, it is not every revolu- 
tionary situation that leads to revolution. What, generally speaking, are 
the symptoms of a revolutionary situation? We shall certainly not be 
mistaken if we indicate the following three major symptoms: 1) when 
it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any 
change; when there is a crisis, in one form or another, among the 'upper 
classes', a crisis in the policy of the ruling class, leading to a fissure 
through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes 
burst forth. For a revolution to take place, it is usually insufficient for 
'the lower classes not to want' to live in the old way; it is also necessary 
that 'the upper classes should be unable' to live in the old way; 2) when 
the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute 
than usual; 3) when, as a consequence of the above causes, there is a 
considerable increase in the activity of the masses, who uncomplainingly 
allow themselves to be robbed in 'peacetime', but, in turbulent times, 
are drawn both by all the circumstances of the crisis and by the 'upper 
classes' themselves into independent historical action. 

"Without these objective changes, which are independent of the will, 
not only of individual groups and parties but even of individual classes, 
a revolution, as a general rule, is impossible. The totality of all these 
objective changes is called a revolutionary situation."* 

But, Lenin further emphasised, for a revolutionary situation to turn 
wto a revolution these objective factors must be accompanied by a 
subjective factor: the ability and readiness of the revolutionary class 
to carry out revolutionary mass actions strong enough to overthrow 
the old government and establish their own. Only concrete historical 
conditions in a given country could produce this coincidence of objective 
and subjective prerequisites, Lenin believed. There was no such thing 
as introducing revolution from "without". 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works. Vol. 21, p. 214. 


The fundamental duty of Marxists in the imperialist war, in Lenin's 
view, was to reveal to the masses the existence of a revolutionary 
situation, awaken the class consciousness and militant determination of 
the proletariat, help it pass to revolutionary actions and create the 
organisations needed for that. It was the duty of the Marxist party t 
do its utmost to facilitate the development of the revolutionary mo c - 
ments that had already begun on the basis of a revolutionary situation 
and to strengthen the alliance of the working class, as the leading force 
cf the revolution, with the broadest sections of the working pe, 
primarily with the peasants. Lenin held that leadership of the working- 
class revolutionary struggle by its Marxist party, was the decisive 
condition for the victory of the socialist revolution. 

Lenin always regarded socialist revolution in any country as a 
component of the world socialist revolution. He therefore held tha it 
was the sacred duty of all Marxist parties and groups to strengthen the 
unity and solidarity of the world revolutionary socialist movement .d 
to be guided always and everywhere by the great principle of 
proletarian internationalism. 

Such are the cardinal tenets of Lenin's theory of socialist revolut lob, 
On the basis of this theory and tactics the Bolsheviks developed 
work in Russia and rallied the Left forces in the West. 

Zimmerwald and Kienthal conferences. Early in June 1915, Lenin and 
Krupskaya moved from Berne to Sorenberg, a remote mountain village, 
where they spent the summer in the inexpensive Marienthal Hotel. 
Here, too, Lenin did not interrupt his theoretical studies and organisa- 
tional work. The table and window-sills of his room were stacked with 
books from the Berne and Zurich libraries. In Sorenberg he wrote he 
Collapse of the Second International", "Socialism and War" mentioned 
above, and a number of other articles. Nadezhda Konstantinovna reea le.dE 
that they used to get up very early and spend the morning in the garden, 
each working in his own particular nook. Dinner was at twelve, as 
everywhere else in Switzerland, and after that they would somel @s 
take a walk in the mountains with Inessa Armand. They would ec W 
back with baskets filled with alpine roses, berries and mushrooms. 

Lenin intensively prepared for the conference of socialist inl. ia- 
tionahsts, now clearly necessitated by the growth of the international 
labour movement. The impact of the war-thc millions killed on the 
battle-fields, the dislocation of industry, etc. -was making itself 
increasingly felt in the summer of 1915. The fraternisation at the firing 
lines, and the strikes and demonstrations in a number of countries were 
indications that the masses had started a revolutionary struggle. CO 
several countries the Left socialists were displaying more boldness and 
energy. The need, an urgent one, was to unite the Left internationalist 
forces around revolutionary tactics. Lenin, through his extensive cor- 
respondence with Left socialists, worked to bring about closer cohesion 
and unity of policy. He suggested drafting a joint declaration prior to 
the conference. 


Xhe First International Socialist Conference was held on August 23- 
26 (September 5-8), 1915, in the Swiss village of Zimmerwald and was 
attended by thirty-eight delegates from eleven countries. Lenin arrived 
j n Zimmerwald two days before the conference was due to open and 
had a meeting with the Russian and Polish delegates. Then, on August 
22 (September 4), he met in private with all the Left delegates and read 
a report on the nature of the world war and on the tactics of revolutionary 
internationalists. He was very active at the conference, taking the floor 
several times, corresponding with delegates during the sittings and 
talking with them during the recesses, showing them that it was 
necessary to wage a determined struggle against social-chauvinism. At 
the conference itself he organised the Zimmerwald Left, composed of 
eight delegates. There was a sharp ideological struggle between this 
close-knit group of internationalists, revolutionary Marxists headed by 
Lenin, and the Kautskyites and pro-Kautsky delegates, who made up 
the Right wing, Their spokesman was Georg Ledebour, the German 

One of the first to speak in the general debate was Vasil Kolarov, 
representative of the Tesnyaks, the Bulgarian socialists. He described 
their experience during the Balkan war, dealing in detail with cases of 
mutiny in the army. Lenin followed his speech with keen attention, 
seeing in the Bulgarian experience added confirmation that the Bolshevik 
proposals on work in the army were fully realisable. 

The Left submitted a draft resolution on the war and the tasks of the 
Social-Democrats, and also a draft Manifesto. Both were rejected by 
the conference majority, but on the insistence of Lenin and other Left 
delegates, a number of basic propositions of revolutionary Marxism were 
incorporated in the Manifesto. 

It concluded with these stirring words: 

"Never before in world history has there been such a noble and 
pressing task, the accomplishment of which must be our common cause. 
No sacrifices are too great, no burden too heavy for the achievement 
of our goal-peace among the nations. 

"Working men and working women! Mothers and fathers! Widows 
and orphans! Wounded and maimed! To all of you who suffer from 
"ie war and through the war; to all of you, across frontiers, across 
smoke-Bled battle-fields, across destroyed towns and villages, we 
address this appeal- 
Workers of All Countries, Unite!" 

However, the Manifesto was inconsistent, and left much unsaid. It 
*u not include the proposition that imperialism was the eve of socialist 
e yolution, did not explain the causes of the Second International's 
°|J&pse, the need to break with opportunism, etc. 

\T n S0 Lenin considered 5t ri 9 ht t0 si 9 n the Manifesto. He was 
am aed by the important tactical principle of revolutionary Marxism- 


the principle of avoiding sectarianism. He wrote.- "It would be secta- 
rianism to refuse to take this step forward together with the minority 
of German, French, Swedish, Norwegian, and Swiss socialists, when -\e 
retain full freedom and full opportunity to criticise inconsistency id 
to work for greater things. It would be poor war tactics to refuse to 
adhere to the mounting international protest movement against social- 
chauvinism just because this movement is slow, because it takes 'only' 
a single step forward. . . /'* 

Lenin called the Zimmerwald Conference the first step in developing 
an international movement against the war. The Left group organised 
its bureau. But in this group, too, the correct and fully consistent position 
on the question of war, peace and revolution was held only by the 
Bolshevik Party, with Lenin at its head. 

The conference lasted four days. The delegates carried back with 
them to their respective countries its Manifesto, the statements of the 
Zimmerwald Left drawn up by Lenin or with his participation and his 
pamphlet Socialism and War, supplemented by the Manifesto of the 
R.S.D.L.P. Central Committee on the War, the Berne Bolshevik 
conference resolutions and the Poronin resolution on the national ques- 
tion. Lenin's writings exerted a powerful influence on the further growth 
of the Left socialist movement in Europe and the United States. 

Lenin felt the strain of the conference, at which he had to wage an 
uncompromising struggle against the Kautskyite forces. It took several 
days of complete rest and fresh mountain air before he could resume 
his work with his customary energy. Early in October 1915, he and 
Krupskaya returned to Berne from Sorenberg. 

The building of closer contacts with Left socialist groups in her 
countries continued. In November 1915, Lenin received from the U;:.tcd 
States a leaflet put out by the Socialist Propaganda League. After h tog 
convinced himself that the leaflet had been issued by an internationalist 
organisation with a strongly Left-inclined programme, he sent the League 
a letter and the statements of the Zimmerwald Left. He warmly welcomed 
the League's appeal to Socialist Party members to work for a new 
International, for genuine revolutionary socialism and against 
opportunism, particularly its defencist variety. 

But he considered it his duty to tell the American Lefts that the 
Bolsheviks could not agree with several points of their programme. 
For instance, the Socialist Propaganda League was opposed to the 
centralist principle of proletarian party organisation, alleging that it 
was incompatible with inner-party democracy. In our press, Lenin wrote, 
we always champion inner-party democracy, but, at the same time, we 
never oppose centralism in the party; we are for democratic centralism- 

In February 1916, Lenin sent a letter to the French internationalist 5 ' 
pointing to their inconsistency in the struggle against opportunism, their 
reluctance to break with the opportunists. What we have now, Lenin 
said, are two mutually opposed working-class tactics and policies o n 
* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 387. 


, w ar, and they cannot be reconciled. At the same time, Lenin warned 
h French Lefts against the danger of anarcho-syndicalism and 
nressed the confidence that they would learn to conduct revolutionary 
rk among the masses in the new conditions. "I have faith in the 
French revolutionary proletariat," he wrote. He asked the French 
onii'ades to put out a leaflet giving the full translation of his letter, 
jjjis was done in 1916, and the leaflet played a big part in uniting the 
French Left. 

Lenin sent similar letters to the Left socialists in Norway, Sweden, 
Holland, Britain and other European countries. This comradely 
criticism of their position on fundamental programmatic, tactical and 
organisational issues was of valuable assistance to the internationalist 
groups in the war period and did much to forge their ideological and 
political unity on the basis of revolutionary Marxism and proletarian 

In January 1916, Lenin took an active part in organising the German- 
language magazine Vorbote (Herald), the organ of the Zimmerwald 
Left It published his "Opportunism and the Collapse of the Second 
International", and the theses "The Socialist Revolution and the Right 
of Nations to Self-Determination". 

On February 10 or 11, the family moved from Berne to Zurich, where 
they rented a room at 14 11 Spiegclglasse in an old neighbourhood near 
the centre of the city. The flat belonged to a shoemaker named Kanv 
merer. The room was anything but convenient. There was always an 
unpleasant smell from the sausage factory in the yard, so that the 
window could be opened only late in the evening. A much better room 
could have been rented for the same money, but Lenin and Krupskaya 
liked the Kammerers and the fact that the flat was an "international 
community": two of the rooms were occupied by the shoemaker and 
his family, one by the wife and children of a German soldier, another 
by an Italian, a third by Austrian actors, and the fourth by Lenin and 
Krupskaya, One day, when the women were gathered around the kitchen 
range, Mrs. Kammercr exclaimed: "The soldiers should turn their guns 
against their own governments!" After that Lenin would not hear of 
moving. He lived in the house until his departure for Pctrograd in 
April 1917. By decision of the Zurich Municipality there is a plaque 
Under the window of his room with this inscription: "Lenin, the leader 
°f the Russian Revolution, lived here from February 21, 1916, to April 
2, 1017." 

In Zurich, Lenin worked energetically to prepare for the second 
international Socialist Conference. It met in the Swiss village of Kienthal 
ln April 1916 and was attended by forty-three delegates from ten 
countries. This time the Zimmerwald Lefts numbered twelve, and acted 
a s a more closely-knit group, on several issues mustering as many as 
n ineteen votes. 

The changed international situation since the first, Zimmerwald 
nference, and the mounting mass discontent against the war found 


reflection at Kienthal in the conduct of the delegates. Lenin 
especially interested in the speeches of the German delegates, who 
emphatically declared there would be major revolutionary upheavals 
in Germany if the war dragged out into the autumn. 

There was a heated debate on the Bolshevik Central Committee 
proposals, notably on the attitude to be adopted towards the Inter 
tional Socialist Bureau. Lenin convincingly argued that the LS.B. K [ 
become a tool of the Anglo-French social-chauvinists and that interna- 
tionalists should not adhere to it. The important thing was to look 
forward, not backward: there had to be a split with the Second 
International, it was inevitable, in fact it had already taken place in 
a number of countries. That was the only way to save the ho v i 
of proletarian socialism and revolutionary internationalism. The 
Zimmerwald Left supported Lenin's proposals. 

Its campaign, directed by Lenin, forced the Right wing to vote for a 
compromise resolution sharply criticising the I.S.B., demanding the 
resignation of its Executive Committee and expulsion from the party of 
socialists who had joined bourgeois governments. The resolu: on, 
however, did not call for an immediate break with the I.S.B, and the 
founding of a new International. On the contrary, it even perm a 
national Zimmerwald affiliates to demand the convocation of the I.S.B. 

The second important issue at Kienthal was proletarian tactics on 
the question of peace. The discussion centred around the Bolshevik 
Central Committee proposals which directly linked the problem of a 
democratic peace with that of the socialist revolution. The Bolshevik 
proposals were supported by Left delegates from other countries. 

The conference adopted an appeal to "the peoples being ruined and 
killed by the war". It called on workers of town and country nol to 
believe the imperialist governments and their press that "the war must 
be continued to end all wars". 

"Never," the appeal said, "has war killed war. On the contra 
awakens a desire for revenge; violence breeds violence. 

"Thus, after every sacrifice you make, your tormentors will den tnd 
more sacrifices. It is a vicious circle from which the bourgeois pacifists 
will never extricate you. 

"There is only one way to prevent war: the conquest of political r 5We£ 
by the working class and the abolition of capitalist property. 

"A 'durable peace' can only be the result of a socialist victory. 

The conference concluded late at night on April 30, and Lenin 80$ 
the other delegates greeted the dawn of May Day 1916 in the Berne 

Back in Zurich, Lenin immediately sent word to Russia that tne 
Central Committee was preparing a detailed report on the Kienthal 
Conference for circulation among Bolshevik organisations in Russia and 
other countries. Meanwhile, Lenin wrote, "the adoption of the Maniicsto 

is a step forward A resolution was adopted criticising pacifism. *»a 

another sharply criticising the International Socialist Bureau. On to 


hole, despite a multitude of shortcomings, this is a step towards a 
break with the social-patriots."* 

The Kienthal Conference did not adopt the Bolshevik slogans of 
converting the imperialist war into a civil war, defeat of one's "own" 
imperialist government, and the founding of a third International. But 
it did help to cement the internationalist forces on the ideological basis 
of Marxism-Leninism. 

In his Fils du peuple {Son ol the People), Maurice Thorez describes 
how he, then a farm hand in the Creuse Department, learned of the 
Zimmerwald and Kienthal conferences and the policy advocated by 
Lenin and the Bolsheviks. His landlord, an elderly, revolutionary-minded 
stonemason named Menage r, told him about Zimmerwald and Kienthal. 
"In 1915 and 1916, from these villages hidden in the Swiss mountains 
there came, through the acrid smoke of battle, the voices of a small 
army of genuine socialists led by Lenin and the Bolsheviks, who were 
true to the ideas of proletarian internationalism and revolution."** 

Antonio Gramsci, a leading Italian Marxist, was one of those who 
carried to the masses the revolutionary ideas of Zimmerwald and 
Kienthal. And it was through Gramsci "that Togliatti learned of the 
appeals of the Zimmerwald and Kienthal Left and together with Gramsci 
began to study the theory and practical activities of the Russian 

The vitalising influence of Lenin's ideas was felt by many other 
socialist internationalists during the years of imperialist war. Subse- 
quently, they formed the Communist Parties which, under Lenin's 
leadership, joined together to found the Communist International. 

The right of nations to self-determination. A close study of the 
national and colonial question is still another aspect of Lenin's work 
in the years of the First World War. The imperialist war, and indeed 
the whole era of imperialism, made this one of the pressing problems 
of socialist revolution, especially the question of the right of nations 
to self-determination. An international discussion on the subject 
developed in 1915-16 in which, besides the Bolsheviks, German, Dutch 
and Polish socialists took part. 

In January-February 1916, Lenin drew up his theses "The Socialist 
Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination", which were 
approved by the Bolshevik Central Committee and circulated among 
Bolshevik organisations abroad and Left groups in the West. They 
represented a new Bolshevik programmatic declaration on the national 
fnd colonial question, in which the national question was treated as an 
^separable, component part of the question of socialist revolution, its 
serves and allies and its direct support of the anti-imperialist struggle 
the colonial and oppressed nations. 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th Russ. cd.. Vol. 36, p. 356. 
M. Thorez, Fils du peuple, Moscow, 1951, p. 26, 

Marcclla e Maurizio Fcrrara, Conversando con Togliatti, Roma, 1953, p. 3S. 


In the summer o£ 1916, Lenin wrote his famous articles "The Junius 
Pamphlet" and "The Discussion on Self-Determination Summed Up", 
The first was a reply to Rosa Luxemburg's pamphlet (Junius, the Latin 
for junior, was her pen-name) The Crisis oi Social-Democracy. In both 
articles Lenin reviewed the international discussion on the natic a] 
question and criticised the erroneous views expounded by Rosa 
Luxemburg, Anton Pannekoek and others, who maintained that the 
demand for national self-determination should be abandoned in the 
imperialist era. Lenin amplified and substantiated the Bolshevik theory 
and tactics on the national question in the era of imperialism id 
proletarian revolutions. 

The self-determination slogan, he wrote, must be regarded in re 
to three main groups, or types, of countries. The first was the highly 
developed capitalist countries of Western Europe and the United Sta es. 
Each of these "great" nations oppressed other nations in the colonies 
and at home. The proletariat of these dominant bourgeois nations mast 
advocate freedom of secession both for the colonics and for the oppressed 
nations within these "great" powers. The proletariat must combat the 
great-power chauvinism of its own nation. 

The second group comprised Eastern Europe-Austria, the Balkans 
and, particularly, Russia, where bourgeois-democratic national move- 
ments had developed in the twentieth century, and where the national 
struggle had become more acute. In these countries, the proletariat could 
not accomplish its tasks in regard to carrying through bourgeois- 
democratic reforms, and in regard to a socialist revolution, unless it 
consistently championed the right of nations to self-determination. It 
was especially important, in this respect, to unite, merge, the class 
struggle of the working people of the oppressor and the oppressed 
nations against their common enemy, the landowners and bourgec 

The third group comprised the semi-colonial countries: China, Be -:a, 
Turkey and all the colonies with their aggregate population of about 
1,000 million. These countries were on the eve of momentous bourg " s " 
democratic movements and revolts against imperialism. The Marxist 
parties and groups must demand immediate liberation of the Colonies 
and resolutely support the most revolutionary elements of these 
bourgeois-democratic national liberation movements and help them in 
every way to fight the oppressor imperialist powers. 

This grouping of countries in relation to the right of nations to self- 
determination in the imperialist era is a model of a profound scienti»G 
and, at the same time, historically concrete approach to the solution °* 
one of the most complicated problems of the ideological and political 

Lenin gave a clear and lucid answer to the question of how to cd 
the working class in an internationalist spirit, both in the big, ojipressQ 
nations and in the small, oppressed nations. The approach cannot 
the same, because, from the standpoint of the national question, the 
position of the working class is not the same. There is the economic 


difference that in the oppressor countries part of the working class gets 
Ijje crumbs from the superprofits the bourgeoisie receives by exploiting 
working people of the oppressed nations. Lenin wrote: "To a certain 
degree the workers of the oppressor nations arc partners of their own 
bourgeoisie in plundering the workers (and the mass of the population) 
of the oppressed nations."* There is also the political difference that in 
the oppressor nations the workers enjoy a privileged position, compared 
with the workers in the oppressed nations, in many spheres of political 
life. Lastly, there is this difference: the workers of the oppressor nations 
are trained by the bourgeoisie in a spirit of contempt for the workers 
of the oppressed nations. 

For that reason, Lenin believed, the internationalist education of the 
proletariat in the oppressor nations should centre around the demand 
for the right of colonies and oppressed nations to secession. On the other 
hand, the socialists in the oppressed nations must advocate and imple- 
ment unity of the workers of the oppressed and oppressor nations. 
Without that it would be impossible to uphold an independent 
proletarian policy and class solidarity with the proletariat of other 
countries. The socialists of the oppressed nations must under all cir- 
cumstances combat national narrow-mindedness, egoism, insulation and 

The internationalist education of the working class, Lenin explained, 
would remain a cardinal task even after the proletarian revolution. The 
proletariat will not become a saint, nor will it be guaranteed against 
errors and shortcomings, by the fact alone that it has performed the 
social revolution. "National antipathies will not disappear so quickly: 
the hatred-and perfectly legitimate hatred-of an oppressed nation for 
its oppressor will last for a while; it will evaporate only aiter the victory 
of socialism and aiter the final establishment of completely democratic 
relations between nations."** 

Lenin subjected to comprehensive and profound criticism the 
erroneous views held by the Polish, Dutch and German Left socialists 
and the Bukharin-Pyatakov group, all of whom were opposed to national 
self-determination, arguing that it was unfeasible under imperialism. 
Ot course, Lenin explained, under imperialism national self-determina- 
tion could be achieved only by overcoming immense difficulties. But 
fhat did not at all imply that revolutionary socialists should reject an 
^mediate and most resolute struggle for this demand-that would only 
P'ay into the hands of the bourgeoisie and the reactionaries. On the 
contrary, what they should do is raise the oppressed peoples against 
very variety of national and colonial oppression, for full implementa- 
ion of the right of nations to political self-determination, 
und ? xcept . ional importance to this day is Lenin's proposition that. 

der imperialism, the winning of political independence does not mean 
^_a_nation has acquired economic independence. "Finance capital is 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 23. p. 56. 
I Ibid., Vol. 22, p. 353. 


such a great, such a decisive, you might say, force in all economy 
in all international relations, that it is capable of subjecting, and actually 
does subject, to itself even states enjoying the fullest political 
independence."* Nations oppressed by imperialism, Lenin taught, m Ust 
seek not only political, but economic independence. But colonial and 
semi-colonial, the small and weak nations cannot hope to obtain genuine 
economic aid from the imperialist powers. On the contrary, under the 
guise of "economic aid" the colonialists try to tighten their stranglehold 
on these nations. 

Lenin held that only socialism will usher in an era of genuine libera- 
tion for the oppressed peoples. He put forward the programmatic 
proposition that when the working class comes to power in the developed 
capitalist countries it will not only give all the colonial and dependent 
peoples the right of self-determination up to secession, but will also 
make the maximum effort to establish closer ties with the bad - ,1 
peoples of Asia and Africa who have taken the road of independent 
development, extend disinterested aid to them and help them "to lass 
to the use of machinery, to the lightening of labour, to democracy, to 

The opponents of national self-determination claimed that the 
"national state" slogan was no longer valid under imperialism. Lenin 
conceded that, historically, it was an old slogan. But in the in 
the colonies with their total population of 1,000 million, new, bourgeois- 
democratic national movements had arisen in the imperialist era, and 
liberation wars were being fought there. Even in Western Europe, the 
possibility of national wars, for example, by small nationally-oppressed 
or annexed states against imperialist powers, was not excluded. And, 
certainly, large-scale national movements in Eastern Europe were more 
than probable. Under certain conditions, Lenin believed that in Ei ope 
it was possible to convert the imperialist war into a great national war. 

Much of what Lenin wrote in 1916 was confirmed in the Second World 
War, when the nazi armies overran nearly the whole of Europe and its 
peoples rose in a great national liberation war. The Soviet Union and 
its Armed Forces played the decisive part in defeating Hitlcrism, in 
liberating the nations from nazi oppression and saving European and 
world civilisation. 

Does the right to national self-determination apply to a socialist 
society? The Polish comrades siding with Rosa Luxemburg replied in 
the negative. Their argument was that socialism would abolish all 
national oppression and the demand for national self-determination 
would therefore be pointless. That line of reasoning, Lenin said, was 

"The aim of socialism," he explained, "is not only to end the division 
of mankind into tiny states and the isolation of nations in any ~ rn1 ' 
it is not only to bring the nations closer together but to integral 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works. Vol. 22, p. 259. 
** Ibid.. Vol. 23, p. 67. 


them. I* l *»e same way as mankind can arrive at the abolition of 
classes only through a transition period of the dictatorship of the 
oppressed class, it can arrive at the inevitable integration of nations 
only through a transition period of the complete emancipation of all 
oppressed nations, i.e., their freedom to secede."* 

These are some of the key propositions on the national and colonial 
question Lemn elaborated during the First World War. They have 
become part of the treasure-store of scientific communism. 

The summer of 1916 was spent in the mountains because of Nadczhda 
Konstantmovna's health. They stayed at a modest boarding-house, the 
Tschudiweise, in the little village of Flums, not far from Zurich. They 
chose it because it was cheap, probably the cheapest in all Switzerland 
two and a half francs a day per person. This was important because 
Lenin and Krupskaya had to practise the utmost economy Their 
material position was especially difficult in the second half of 1916 

In fine weather they would take walks in the mountains, and during 
these walks, Nadezhda Konstantinovna recalled, Lenin spoke of the 
problems uppermost in his mind. One of these was the role of democracy 
in the development of the proletarian class struggle. Early in September 
they returned to Zurich, to their room in the Kammercr's flat 

Many of the Left socialists who had opposed the right of nations to 
self-determination were now repudiating the struggle for democracy 
under imperialism. This time they argued that since imperialism was 
Itself a negation of democracy, it followed that democracy was "unrealis- 
ablc under imperialism and all the talk about democratic rights and 
republican form of government was meaningless. The only thing that 
could be opposed to imperialism was socialism. Such was the "arch- 
K^iv^T I u re . aSonin S o£ Lcft *. Their views were shared by the 
^atakov-Bukharm group and Radck, who supported that group. Lenin 

Sfs3 V i //T d ! }US thGOry ' <l™^9 * « "imperialist economism", 
Qnf w r°c cancaturc of Marxism as the Economism of 1894- 
7,- He Qualified imperialist economism" as a striking manifestation 
or dogmatism and sectarianism in the world socialist movement 

to P kI^V %'H e ^ aSC v nt Trcnd o£ Im P<*'ialist Economism", "Reply 
Econ^ - y (Y -.? yatako y ) "' " A Caricatu ^ of Marxism and Imperialist 
Eco i omism written in the autumn of 1916, Lenin explained in detail 

dem^r, * impci ; iallsm signified, politically, a sharp turn from 
a ? 2 !° reacl - lon ' an attempt to abolish democratic freedoms 
hrL V'a ^ * lllev ! tabI V engendered and accentuated demo- 
dmo JZ ^T am ? ng the maSSes " And ifc was not a "after of in- 
«ht ?W ° P£? lctariat fnd the working people what kind of 
stat. they live in. The more democratic the state is, the easier it is for 
|e Proletariat to conduct a broad, open, organised and united struggle 

Spe f.l^wfc. b^ *!!, bo ^ eois - Naturally, capitalism Zd 
f^periali^n will not be overthrown even by the most "ideal" democratic 

* V. L Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 22, pp. 146-47. 

f-" 55 257 

reforms. That requires a socialist revolution and proletarian dictatorship 
But the working class cannot carry out the socialist revolution unless £ 
has prepared for it by a comprehensive, consistent and revolution v 
struggle for democracy. The struggle for democracy is part of 
struggle for socialism. "One must be able to unite the struggle lor 
democracy with the struggle for the socialist revolution, Subrndhatim 
the former to the latter. This is the entire difficulty, the entire essem 
Lenin wrote in December 1916. 

The socialist proletariat must lead the masses in the fight for their 
freedoms and rights and utilise all the democratic institutions and mo c - 
ments to prepare for its victory over the bourgeoisie. "To imagine 
social revolution is conceivable without revolts by small nations in 
colonies and in Europe, without revolutionary outbursts by a section of 
the- petty bourgeoisie with all its prejudices, without a movement of ie 
politically non-conscious proletarian and semi-proletarian masses aga s| 
oppression by the landowners, the church, and the monarchy, aga- ist 
national oppression, etc.-to imagine all this is to repudiate so r J 
revolution. . . . Whoever expects a pure' social revolution will never 
Jive to see it. Such a person pays lip-service to revolution wit? | 
understanding what revolution is."* 

In his articles written in 1916 Lenin consistently upheld and develc d 
the cardinal revolutionary Marxist principle that proletarian dicta >r- 
ship is an objective law of development common to all countric 
their transition from capitalism to socialism. "...Whoever expects rt 
socialism will be achieved without a social revolution and the 
dictatorship of the proletariat is not a socialist."** 

He formulated and substantiated the all-important proposition that 
different nations will pass to the dictatorship of the proletariat and to 
socialism in different ways. This has been fully confirmed by the 
development o£ a number of countries after World War II. 
nations," Lenin wrote, "will arrive at socialism-this is inevitable, but all 
will do so in not exactly the same way, each will contribute someti 
of its own to some form of democracy, to some variety of the dictator- 
ship of the proletariat, to the varying rate of socialist transformati is 
in the different aspects of social life."*** 

He trenchantly criticised Bukharin's semi-anarchist views that the 
state must be "blown-up", since the proletariat is hostile to any IV m 
of state. This was a gross distortion of the Marxist theory of the state, 
for unlike the anarchists, the Marxists hold that the bourgeois state 
be used in the fight for the emancipation of the working class. Marxists 
advocate the "break-up" of the old state machine in the course of the 
proletarian revolution and the creation of a proletarian state (proletan ats 
dictatorship). Revolutionary Marxism is "recognition of the fact that 

* V. L Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 22. p. 355. 
"* Ibid., Vcl. 23, p. 95. ^ 
'** Ibid., pp. 69-70. 

state will exist until victorious socialism develops into full 

i" ■ 


C ° Lenin's attacks on the question of the state were concentrated on the 
n d international opportunists, notably the Kautskyites. In the closing 

nths of 1916 and the early months of 1917 he worked on this question, 
"mdied everything Marx and Engels had written on the state, giving 
u is own comments to their basic ideas and demonstrating, first and fore- 
most, t jj at on this question too the opportunists had openly renounced 
the views of the founders of scientific communism. 

Writing to Inessa Armand after re-reading Engels's The Housing 
Question, Lenin remarked that he could not calmly bear the attacks on 
Marx and Engels. "No, these were real people! We must learn from them. 
We must not leave that basis. It was from that basis that both the social- 
chauvinists and the Kautskyites departed."** The materials he collected 
made up a notebook, Marxism on the State, and served as the basis for 
his masterly study The State and Revolution. 

A revolutionary situation had arisen in Europe. Fearing that it might 
develop into a revolution, the capitalists tried to conclude an imperialist 
peace. The social-chauvinists and Kautskyites took a pacifist position, 
seeking to reassure the peoples with the prospect of a democratic peace 
granted by the imperialist governments. Soon after the Kienthal Con- 
ference, the entire Zimmerwald Right in major European countries- 
France, Germany, Italy-slid into social-pacifism, which had been rejected 
at Kienthal, and openly aligned themselves with the social-chauvinists 
and reformists against the revolutionary internationalists, who supported 
the Zimmerwald Left. Robert Grimm, one of the leaders of the Socialist 
Party of Switzerland and chairman of the Zimmerwald and Kienthal 
conferences and of the International Socialist Commission, which was 
set up by these conferences, joined forces with the social-patriots in his 
country. He screened his defection with abuse at the social-patriots of 
other countries and hypocritic sympathy for Karl Liebknecht. 

Lenin publicly branded the desertion of the Centrist majority in the 
Zimmerwald Association to social-chauvinism and relentlessly exposed 
Grimm's sneaking "tactics". Zimmerwald, he said, was obviously bank- 
rupt and the name was being used to cover something utterly rotten 
in European socialism. He called upon the Left internationalists to form 
a genuinely revolutionary working-class International and to organise in 
all countries proletarian parties of a new type, parties that would break 
with both the social-chauvinists and Centrists and head the revolutionary 
s * ru 9gle of the working class for socialism. 

February revolution. Lenin returns to Russia. While he was in 
Switzerland Lenin gave much of his attention to the local working-class 
Movement, notably to the Swiss socialist youth. All the Bolsheviks., 
deluding Lenin, were members of the Swiss Social-Democratic Party. 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 22, p. 323. 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35, p. 281. 


Swiss workers heard Lenin speak at their rallies and meetings. He had 
direct contact with Fritz Platten and other Swiss Left socialists, attended 
many of their conferences and helped them in their struggle against the 
social-chauvinists and Centrists. He drew up special theses on the 
subject, entitling them "Tasks of the Left Zimmerwaldists in the Swiss 
Social-Democratic Party", At the Congress of the Swiss Social-Democ 
Party in Zurich, on October 22 {November 4), he greeted the congress 
on behalf of the R.S.D.L.P, Central Committee. 

On January 9 (22), 1917, he gave a lecture on the Russian Revolution 
of 1905 at a meeting of young workers in the Zurich People's Ho 
He closed the lecture with the words; "We must not be deceived by 
present grave-like stillness in Europe. Europe is pregnant with 

Only a few weeks after Lenin pronounced these prophetic wore 
revolution broke out in Russia. In February 1917, the tsarist autoer L y 
was overthrown. The revolution was victorious because its leader ad 
chief motive force was the working class, which, rising in armed revolt 
against the tsar, carried with it the millions of peasants clad in army 
uniform. The Bolshevik Party under Lenin's leadership, displa ,. : 
intrepidity in the struggle against tsardom and sustaining the heavi fst 
losses in that struggle, had inspired and organised the militant allii ice 
between the workers and peasants in the revolution. 

Lenin learned of the revolution in Petrograd from the Swiss p 
of March 2 (15). He was beside himself with joy. Together with the 
Bolshevik emigres he was elated over the victory of the workers md 
soldiers in Russia and was proud that they had been the first to begin 
the breakthrough of the world imperialist front. The revolution stirred 
the entire world. Lenin at once got down to appraising it and defining 
the new tasks of the proletariat and its Bolshevik Party. 

In letters written on March 3 (16) and 4 (17) to Alexandra Kollontai 
in Christiania (Oslo), through whom contact with the Bolshevi*- in 
Russia was maintained, he outlined the course the Party must follow 
in view of the establishment of a bourgeois Provisional Government. 
The chief thing now, he said, was to keep strengthening the working- 
class revolutionary party. It would be the greatest misfortune for the 
Bolsheviks to agree to "unity" with the Mcnsheviks. "On no account a 
repetition of something like the Second International! On no accQUti 
with Kautsky! Definitely a more revolutionary programme and 

tactics "** The immediate task was to extend activities, to organise the 

masses, rouse new strata in preparation for the conquest of power by &e 
Soviets of Workers' Deputies. Finish off reaction! Not the sligh* est 
confidence in, or support for, the new bourgeois government: build a 
broader base for a higher stage of the revolution. 

In his Letters horn Alar, Lenin closely analysed the revolutionary 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 23, p. 253. 
** V. L Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 35. p. 296. 



vents in Russia and substantiated the tactics of the Bolshevik Party. 
u e assessed the February-March revolution, which overthrew tsardom, 
aS the first stage of a revolution that must grow into a socialist 

Lenin felt like a caged lion, was impatient to return to Russia. But 
how to get to Russia, to revolutionary Petrograd? Communication between 
neutral Switzerland and belligerent Russia was controlled by Britain and 
prance. They allowed, even facilitated, the passage of war supporters 
to Russia, but did not let through Bolsheviks and internationalists. Some 

other route had to be found. Krupskaya recalls; "Ilyich had no sleep 

Once in the middle of the night he said : 'You know, I could travel with 
the passport of a mute Swede.' I laughed: 'It won't work, you might talk 
in your sleep. You might see the Cadets in your dreams and you would 
be muttering, "What scum, what scum!" and then everyone would know 
you're not a Swede.' " 

There was a suggestion that they travel via Germany, by exchanging 
Russian political emigrants for German war prisoners. Lenin seized on 
the idea and, after weighing all the pros and cons, set about putting it 
into effect. With the help o£ Swiss socialists, notably Fritz Platten, the 
secretary of the Swiss Socialist Party, permission to pass through 
Germany \vas obtained after much delay. 

When the news came through, the social-patriots in the Allied countries 
raised an incredible clamour. It was monstrous, they cried, to pass 
through Germany and enter into intercourse with the government of the 
bloodthirsty Kaiser. Lenin contemptuously swept aside all these hypo- 
critical arguments. In what way, he asked, was the imperialist govern- 
ment of a "hostile power" better or worse than that of one's "own" 
country or of the "Allied powers"? Would it be right, from the stand- 
point of proletarian internationalism, to "yield" to British or Russian 
imperialism, stay away from Russia in the interests of that imperialism 
and remain abroad with folded arms at a time of revolution? Would 
it not be wiser to take advantage of the permission of another govern- 
ment to pass through its territory and take part in the revolution, in 
the struggle against the war, against all the imperialist powers? Lenin 
thus convincingly exposed the fallacy of the basic argument against 
travelling to Russia via Germany. 

Certainly, he said, we shall be slandered, we shall be hounded, but- 
mere is no other route to Russia, And though it is difficult to combat 
slander, it can be combated and must be, To do that, the whole trip must 
° e so arranged as to give us documentary evidence and facts to refute 
a] l the slander. 

To that end Lenin arranged that a declaration be drawn up and signed 
V Social-Democrats of various countries. It read in part: "We, the 
Undersigned French, Swiss, Polish and German internationalists, consider 
1 riot only right, but the duty of our Russian comrades to avail 
uemselvcs of this opportunity to reach Russia." In token of their full 
Sreement with the course of action taken by Lenin and his comrades, 


the declaration was signed by P. Levi (P. Harts tein) (Germany) 
H. Guilbeaux, F. Loriot (France), F. Platten (Switzerland) and M. Bronski 
(Poland), all of whom were then prominent Left socialists. When Lenin 
arrived in Stockholm it was signed by the Left socialists Hansen 
(Norway), C. Lindhagen, Fr. Strom, Carleson, K. Kilbom and T. Nerman 
(Sweden). A communique that the party was passing through Sweden 
was published in the socialist newspaper Politiken. 

Under the agreement Platten had reached with German representatives 
permission to pass through Germany was granted to all emigres 
irrespective o£ party affiliation or attitude towards the war. 

Krupskaya recalls r "When we received the letter from Berne that 
all the arrangements had been completed and we could start on our 
way to Russia, Ilyich said: 'Let's catch the first train.' We had r-nly 
two hours to pack and I hesitated. We had to wind up our 'household', 
return the books to the library, pay up our rent, etc. 'You go and 111 
follow tomorrow.' 'No, we'll go together.' The 'household' was wound 
up, the books packed, letters destroyed, some clothes and other 
essentials packed and we took the first train out." 

In bidding Lenin farewell his landlord, the shoemaker Kammerer. 

"I hope you won't have to work so much in Russia, Herr Ulyanov." 

"No, Herr Kammerer, I shall probably have to work much mo in 
St. Petersburg/' Lenin replied. 

Lenin and Krupskaya left Switzerland on March 27 (April 9) tog. " or 
with thirty other emigres, among them nineteen Bolsheviks (Mikha 
Tskhakaya, Inessa Armand, G. Usiycvich and others) and six Bundists. 

Shortly before his departure from Switzerland Lenin had prepared a 
leaflet entitled "To Our Comrades in War-Prisoner Camps", in Lch 
he told the two million Russian war prisoners in Germany and Austria 
of the revolution and of the tasks in the coming struggle for socialism 
in Russia. Furthermore, he wrote a "Farewell Letter to the Swiss Work- 
ers". On March 26 (April 8), it was discussed and approved at a meeting 
of Bolsheviks departing for Russia. In it, they conveyed their deep 
gratitude to the revolutionary workers of Switzerland, with whom they 
had worked as fellow socialists, and comprehensively explained the 
historic tasks confronting the Russian proletariat. 

At Gottmudingen, the German frontier station, the Russians were put 
in a separate carriage, three doors of which were sealed and the fourth/ 
back door, left open. Two German officers were installed in the last com- 
partment as representatives of the German Command and a chalk liije 
was drawn across the corridor to indicate the boundary between the 
Russian revolutionaries and the German officers. Only Fritz Platten, 
who accompanied the group, was allowed to cross the line without 
permission of the Russian passengers. 

In Stuttgart the party was met by Janson, a member of the Ge 1 v 
trade union executive. He had come on the instructions of the opportune 1 
trade union leadership to try to enter into conversation with the Russia 11 


olitical leaders. He was vigorously rebuffed by Platten, who acted on 
Lenin's instructions. 

The German press had strict orders not to publish any reports about 
t jje Russian emigres until they had left German soil. The authorities 
feared that such reports might lead to demonstrations of sympathy. 

On March 30 (April 12), the train reached Zashnitz on the Baltic 
seaboard. All the passengers were put on a Swedish cargo vessel that 
took them through the mine fields to the Swedish port of Trellcborg, 
from where they travelled by train to Stockholm. 

In Sweden Lenin and his comrades were given a warm welcome by 
the Bolsheviks living there and by the Swedish Left Socialists. Lenin 
decided to spend only one day in Stockholm. During his short stay in 
the Swedish capital he set up a Bureau Abroad of the Central Committee, 
R.S.D.L.P., attended a meeting of Swedish internationalist Social- 
Democrats and a banquet in honour of the Russian comrades. He conversed 
in German with Fr. Strom, speaking of the coming socialist revolution 
in Russia, the prospects of the world revolutionary movement, bour- 
geois democracy, the dictatorship of the proletariat and other important 

On March 31 (April 13), warmly thanking the Swedish comrades for 
the hospitality and attention accorded to them, the group left Stockholm 
and two days later arrived at Thorneo, the Finnish frontier station. 
Their sudden appearance on the very threshold of the revolution (Fin- 
land was then part of Russia) highly annoyed the Allies. The British 
officers stationed at the Swedish-Finnish frontier gave vent to their spite 
-they took Lenin into a separate room and subjected him to a humi- 
liating search. 

"Ilyich remained calm throughout the procedure," Mikha Tskhakaya 
wrote later. "When he noticed that the gendarmes were disappointed 
at not having found anything suspicious and were obliged to set us free, 
Ilyich burst out laughing. He hugged me and said: 'Our ordeals arc 
over, Mikha, We are on our own soil and we'll show them/ here he 
shook his fist, 'that we arc worthy masters of the future.' " 

Lenin's activities during the First World War were of inestimable 
value and significance. He gave a profound analysis of imperialism as 
the last stage of capitalist society. In these difficult days, when the 
Second International's betrayal of socialism had plunged the world 
labour movement into deep crisis, it was Lenin who saved and upheld 
revolutionary Marxism and dealt crushing blows at social-chauvinism 
^nd Centrism. It was Lenin who laid the foundations for the new. Third 
International and raised aloft the banner of proletarian internationalism. 
Lenin appeared before the world as the recognised teacher and leader 
°f the international proletariat. 

He armed the world labour movement with a new theory of socialist 
^volution-thc theory that its victory was possible first in one country. 
He ■grave the movement the only correct theory and tactics on war, peace 
an d revolution, on the national and colonial question, the proletarian 


struggle for democracy and reforms in the imperialist era, on proletarian 
dictatorship and the different forms of transition from capitalism to 
socialism. Like the rays of the rising sun, Lenin's teaching illumined the 
path of the working class in its fight for victory of the socialist rcvolutv 

The tasks he put before the working class were unparalleled for 
their revolutionary audacity and scientific profundity and conception 
The difficulties involved in their accomplishment were incredible. But 
Lenin was the leader of the working class, a class ordained by history 
to refashion the world. He was the embodiment of its might, power, a d 
organisation and boldly guided it in surmounting all the difficulty 
the revolutionary struggle against imperialism. 

Under his leadership the Bolshevik Party, from the very first day of 
the war, steered a consistent proletarian internationalist course, adopted 
an uncompromising attitude towards "its own" social-chauvinists , d 
Centrists, fought selflessly to turn the imperialist war into a war aga st 
the oppressors, and led the workers and peasants of Russia to victory 
over tsarism, a victory that paved the way to socialist revolution. 

The devoted and intensive struggle for the interests of the working 
class waged by Lenin and the Bolsheviks during the trying years of 
imperialist war stands out as a model to the Communist and Work < 
Parties of the capitalist and colonial countries, for the revolutic i 
liberation movement the world over. 

Chapter Nine 

From now on, a new phase in the history of Russia begins. 
an<I this, the third Russian revolution, should in the end lead 
to the victory of socialism. 


In the small hours of April 3, 1917, a train carrying Lenin and a group 
of political emigrants crossed the Finnish frontier from Sweden. As 
soon as he was in Finland Lenin literally pounced on the Petrograd 
newspapers, which had been almost unobtainable in Switzerland. When 
the frontier inspection and formalities had been completed, the train 
proceeded on to Petrograd. 

"Little by little the car filled with soldiers, until it was packed tight," 
Nadezhda Kmpskaya recalls. They stood up on the seats the better to 
ble to see and hear the man who was speaking in such understand- 
tcrms against the predatory war. Their faces grew tense as they 
*«iened with growing interest."* Lenin talked to the soldiers on how to 
Put an end to the war and how the peasants could obtain land, and 
Questioned them about the mood in the army. The discussion lasted all 
v ~^gh the night. 

* N. K. Krupskaya, Reminiscences oi Lenin, Moscow, 1959, p. 346. 

On the evening of April 3, a moving reunion took place at the 
Beloostrov Station,* where Lenin was awaited by a large delegation f 
Petrograd and Sestroretsk working men and women, by Maria Ulyanova 
his sister, by members of the Central Committee's Russian Bureau and 
other leading figures on the Central Committee and the Bolsheviks' 
Petrograd Committee, and the editors of Pravda, all of whom had come 
down from the capital to welcome Lenin. A group of workers with ban- 
ners met Lenin as he stepped out of the train. They lifted him shoulder- 
high and carried him into the station building, where he made a short 
speech of greeting. The workers' welcome at Beloostrov made a deep 
impression on Lenin. His face was radiant and he was extremely moved. 

Arrival in Petrograd. The news that Lenin would arrive in the ca 
that evening had reached Petrograd earlier in the day, and though it 
was the Easter holiday and there were no newspapers and the factories 
were closed, the good news spread to all parts of the city and to every 
ship and regiment. Workers, soldiers and sailors started preparin lor 
the meeting. The Kronstadt Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) alerted ail 
ships, and the sailors mustered a detachment to provide an escort for 
the leader of the revolution. News of Lenin's return reached the Moscow 
Bolsheviks on the evening of April 3, That day a city conferen ce of 
the R.S.D.L.P. had opened in Moscow. The sudden announcemen! L hat 
Lenin was on his way to Petrograd was received with enthusins u by 
the 400 delegates to the conference, and a telegram of welcome was 
approved amid a storm of applause. 

That night a guard of honour composed of soldiers and sailors formed 
up on the dimly lighted platform of the Finland Railway Station in 
Petrograd. As Lenin stepped out of the train, the Kronstadt s ilors 
presented arms and a military band played the Marseillaise. The w kers 
of Petrograd presented him with flowers and showed their pleasure at 
his homecoming. Amid hurrahs and handclapping I. Chugurin, Secretary 
of the Vyborg District Party Committee, whom Lenin had known at the 
Longjumeau Party school, stepped forward and handed Lenin Party Card 
No, 600 of the Vyborg District Bolshevik organisation.** Lenin greeted 
the soldiers and sailors, and the guard of honour escorted him into the 

* Near Pelrograd. 

** This Party Card has never been found and may no longer exist. The 'allow- 
ing Party cards issued to Lenin arc kept in the Central Party Archives of the 
Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the Central Committee of the C.P.S.U.: Party Card 
No. 527, issued by the Kremlin Subdistrict Committee o£ the Moscow Party organ- 
isation in 1920; Party Card No. 224332 (1920 type), issued in 1920 by the ZanWj*! 
vorechye District Committee of the R.C.P.(B.)\ Moscow; Party Card No, 
(1922 type), issued to Lenin on May 6, 1922. The latter two cards bear Len»* 
signature. , 

In the spring of 1927, the 1922-type Party cards were replaced by the 
issue of 1926. Party Card No. 0000001 and a record card bearing the same nufljtt 
were filled in on March 16. 1927. by the Zamoskvorechye District Cem nuU'g 
in the name of Lenin, founder and leader of the Communist Party of the Sov 
Union. Since then Party Card No. 1 has been reserved for Lenin, and will rem* 
so for all times. 


station building, where members of the Central Committee the P 
Committee and leaders of the district Bolshevik organisations had assem- 
bled. The Mensheviks Skobelev and Chkheidze, representing the Petro- 
grad Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, were also present Lenin 
paid little attention to Chkheidze's "welcome" and, almost before he had 
finished, began addressing the Petrograd Bolsheviks, the factory 
delegations and the soldiers and sailors. He then went out into the square 
The square and the streets adjoining the station were thronged with 
usands ot Petrograd workers and soldiers. Countless banners waved 
in the glare of searchlights. Many of them bore the words; "Welcome 
to Lenm. The band struck up the Internationale. Amid a steady roar 
of cheering, workers and soldiers lifted Lenin on to an armoured car 
Standing on the car, ^ greeted the revolutionary proletariat of Russia 
and the army rank-and-file who had carried out the victorious revolution 
against tsarism The proletariat of the whole world, said Lenin, was 
watching with hope the bold steps taken by the Russian workers. He 
ended his first speech to the workers and soldiers of Petrograd with 
a stirring call: Long live the socialist revolution!" 

People thronged round the armoured car as it bore Lenin to the 

It Zut Y -l I f "I Z h T- th . 6 S CntraI and tt*rograd committees of 
the Bolshevik Party had their headquarters. Here another meeting took 
place attended by Petrograd workers and soldiers, who welcomed then- 
leader with great enthusiasm. Lenin spoke several times during the 

^sszzr* to by thousands of working — — 

rh. RnM C "'-fr °\ ^ Lenin ' S friends and comrades, members of 
he Bo shevik Central and Petrograd committees and active workers of 

, Pera f ad , Part y organisation, met at the Kshesinskaya Palace to 
■ a fin shoTl Someo« made a speech of welcome. When he 
emrX i T St °° d ? P qmckly a,ld ' seein 3 that thcr e were other 
w ° e m 7 h0 al5 ° l Vanted to welcome him. said; "I think, comrades, 
we have done enough congratulating each other on the revolution He 
hen delivered a 90-mmute speech in which he expounded his views on 
the current situation. He was listened to with close attention The 
discussion that followed went on till morning ' lS1Q 

Krunl aWn Leni " Sai , d Sood-bye to his friends and comrades and he and 
£«£ 7L W i n V t0 U I G 3t ? flat bel °atfnS to his sister Anna and her 
Pett ? m0feyevich YeWov (48/9, Shirokaya St., Flat 24, 

Apnl 4 was Lenin's first working day in revolutionary Petrograd. 
t was a very full day; yet, busy though he was, Lenin managed to visit 
oikovo Cemetery, where his mother and sister Olga were buried, 
f th, pT G dayLcnm a 5 tended a meeting of the Executive Committee 

IffiSS \°- WorkeiV and Soldiers ' Deputies - at M th - 

esbon of the emigrants return to Russia was discussed. Lenin described 
circumstances ot their journey back to Russia through Germany and 


proposed that the journey be approved by the meeting, and that step s 
be taken accordingly to get a corresponding number of interned Germans 
set free, particularly the prominent Austrian socialist Otto Bauer. The 
next day Lenin's account of the journey "How We Got Back" was 
published in Prauda and in Izvestia, the Soviet's official newspaper, So 
that it would reach a broad section of the public. 

Lenin's return from abroad was of tremendous importance to the 
Bolshevik Party and the people of Russia. It was vitally important not 
only to the Russian but also to the world revolutionary liberation move- 
ment as a whole. The February revolution had radically altered the 
situation in Russia. The task to which the Party had given priority from 
the outset-the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy-had been carried out. 
Now the Bolshevik Party and the working class were confronted with 
new and even greater tasks. As soon as he arrived in Petrograd Lenin 
took direct control over the Central Committee and Prauda, Welcomed 
enthusiastically by the whole Party, the workers' leader took the helm 
of the revolution. 

The April Theses. Since the February revolution the Bols' 
Party, having emerged from underground, had been mustering its 
forces, working out its tactics and extending its activities in a highly 
complex situation. To lead the struggle of the working class and the 
rest of the working people under the new conditions effectively, the 
Bolsheviks had to make a correct, Marxist appraisal of the Feb n 
revolution, elucidate its class character, take into account the ch, g§5 
in the balance of class forces and define the specific features of tfu 
historical situation. 

The February revolution had occurred in the midst of the impc list 
war and in the course of a few days it had made Russia the freest of 
all the belligerent countries. But had this changed the character o the 
war, which the Provisional Government that had seized power iter 
the revolution was continuing to wage? Should this governme be 
supported? How could the war be ended and peace achieved? He 
what direction, would the revolution develop? 

The workers and peasants, who had shown splendid courage during 
the February revolution, were smashing the old tsarist state ma ;!K 
and establishing the Soviets of Workers,' Soldiers' and Pea its 
Deputies. The Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, 
in response to the Bolsheviks' appeal on February 27, initiated lh e 
formation of Soviets throughout Russia. It had to be explained to the 
masses what the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies 
were, what class significance they had and what part they were destined 
to play in the revolution. 

The Constitutional Democrats and the Octobrists, the bourgeois p ^ 
which had retained the strong organisations they had possessed in the 
days of tsarism, were making every effort to restrain the revolution, 
divert it into bourgeois channels and get the people to support tn 
imperialist war. By deception the bourgeoisie had succeeded in evokms 




defencist" sentiments among wide sections of the population. The bour- 
is parties were actively assisted by the Socialist-Revolutionaries and 
Mensheviks, who held that after the overthrow of the monarchy the 
ountry should have a long period as a bourgeois parliamentary republic, 
within the framework of which the material basis for the transition to 
socialism would be created and the working class would receive the 
political and cultural preparation that was needed for this. The Socialist- 
Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders regarded the Soviets as bodies 
for controlling the activity of the Provisional Government. 

The Bolshevik Party was the only party that had not hauled down 
its socialist colours. It was explaining to the masses the class nature of 
the Provisional Government as a bourgeois government and exposing 
its imperialist policy and the conciliatory tactics of the petty-bourgeois 
parties. Making good use of the freedoms that had been won, the Bureau 
of the Bolshevik Central Committee renewed publication of Prauda, the 
first issue of which came out on Sunday, March 5. It called on the local 
Bolshevik organisations to set up trade unions and factory committees, 
and institute on their own initiative an eight-hour working day and 
form a Red Guard and Workers' Militia. 

The Bolsheviks were carrying on vigorous agitation and propaganda 
as well as organisational work among the people, making it their slogan 
that the revolution should be extended, that the revolutionary forces 
must be consolidated round the Soviets to fight the counter-revolution. 
They continued the struggle to get the landed estates transferred to the 
peasants and to satisfy all the democratic demands that were being made 
by the revolutionary people. 

However, as Lenin showed, the tactics pursued by the Central 
Committee's Russian Bureau and the local Party organisations aimed at 
completion of the bourgeois-democratic revolution and establishment of 
a democratic dictatorship of the working class and the peasantry, no 
longer corresponded to the new conditions of the class struggle that had 
arisen since the February revolution. This was so because the bourgeois- 
democratic stage of the revolution was in the main completed, state 
power had been transferred from the tsar and the landowners to a new 
class, the bourgeoisie, and the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat 
and the peasantry had also emerged in the shape of the Soviets of 
Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies. The main defect of these 
tactics was that they condemned the revolution to marking time and 
ottered the working class and the poorest sections of the peasantry no 
Prospect of a transition to socialist revolution. 
The gigantic new tasks were not understood immediately by the whole 
arty. The immense significance of the Soviets as organs of state power 
Plained unrevcalcd until Lenin came on the scene. 

In March and early April 1917, some of the Bolshevik committees and 
a 2 anisations ' the Central Committee's Bureau and the editors of Pvavda, 
. d ^a number of leading Party workers adopted an incorrect position 
regard to the Provisional Government and ways of withdrawing 


from the imperialist war and achieving peace. Instead of calling fo P 
transfer of all state power to the Soviets, they advocated "control by 
the masses" over the actions of the Provisional Government and "pres- 
sure by the masses" on this bourgeois government to make it abandon 
the imperialist aims of war, annexation, attempts at counter-revolution 
in internal politics, and so on. This position created the false impression 
among the workers and peasants that power should remain in the hands 
of the bourgeois Provisional Government, that this imperialist 
government could solve the problem of achieving a democratic p, e > 
of handing over the landed estates to the peasants, and other fundatE u 
issues of the revolution. 

This does not mean, of course, that the tactics of "pressure by the 
masses" on bourgeois governments are under all conditions incouect 
and misguided. In modem times, for instance, the Marxist-Lciv - ; 
parties and the working class in a number of capitalist countries are 
effectively applying such tactics. But in the historical situation l hat 
arose following the February revolution in 1917, the imperialists had 
complete control of the whole world. The bourgeois Provisional Govern- 
ment of Russia expressed the interests and will not only of the Russian, 
but also of the British and French imperialists, the most powerful in the 
world. Under "pressure by the masses" it could never do anything but 
pay lip service to the idea of abandoning the imperialist war, the 
plunder of its own and other peoples, and a policy that strengthened 
the rule of the capitalists and landowners. In this situation the tactics 
of "pressure by the masses" on the bourgeois government of Russia ;rc 
wrong because they blunted the political awareness of the working class, 
made it more difficult to liberate the masses from the influence ol the 
Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders, who were urging them 
to trust the bourgeoisie and its false and empty promises, and hindered 
the preparation of the proletariat for the fight against imperialism and 
for real freedom, peace and socialism. 

The editorial board of Pravda (at that time it included Kamc iev, 
Molotov, Stalin and others) published on March 21 and 22 the first of 
Lenin's "Letters from Afar" with substantial cuts. They omitted a mm be* 
of passages in which Lenin was at his sharpest in criticising the Provision- 
al Government and the leaders of the petty-bourgeois defencist parties 
and firmly opposed any support of the Provisional Government. 

Kamenev took up a semi-Menshevik stand in March-April. In ari 
published in Pravda he urged that the policy of the Bolsheviks should 
be to give conditional support to the bourgeois Provisional Government 
and exert pressure on it to begin peace negotiations at once. In his 
appraisal of the war Kamenev wobbled into a position of defencisffl' 
In his article "On Lenin's Theses", published in Pravda on April 12* 
1917, Kamenev argued against Lenin and drew an opportunist picture 
of Russia making the transition to a socialist revolution several decades 
later. Throughout the period of preparation for the October Revolution^ 

eV en after the All-Russia (April) Party Conference had approved Lenin's 
political platform, Kamenev continued to maintain his opportunist line 
against the transition to socialist revolution. 

Stalin adopted an incorrect stand on some extremely important matters 
f principle. Like Kamenev, he supported the tactics of the Soviets 
exerting pressure on the Provisional Government over the issue of peace; 
he also misjudged the role of the Soviets and failed to understand their 
historical significance as a new form of state. Stalin said it might be 
possible to bring the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks together on the basis 
f Zimmerwald-Kicnthal, although this international association 
W as defunct. Stalin's position impeded the Party's drive against defencism 
and for revolutionary education of the masses in a spirit of preparation 
for a socialist revolution. In mid-April, Stalin renounced his incorrect 
views and came into line with the Party, which at the April Conference 
had adopted Lenin's course towards the socialist revolution. 

The Party waited impatiently for Lenin's authoritative opinion in 
defining the further paths of development of the revolution and the 
struggle of the working class. The Bolsheviks knew that Lenin would 
show them the only true path. 

On the morning of April 4, Lenin delivered a report "The Tasks of 
e Proletariat in the Present Revolution" at a meeting in the Taurida 
Palace of the Bolshevik delegates to the All-Russia Conference of Soviets 
of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies. These were Lenin's April Theses, 
which armed the Party with a scieniitically-hased plan of. struggle for 
the transition from the bourgeois-democratic to the socialist revolution. 
Lenin repeated his report at a joint meeting of Bolsheviks and Menshe- 
viks, who had taken part in the above-mentioned Conference of Soviets. 

Lenin's Theses defined, first and foremost, the attitude to be adopted 
by the Party to the war, the most vital of all the issues facing the peoples 
of Russia and the whole world. The war that Russia was waging, even 
under the Provisional Government, wrote Lenin, continued to be a preda- 
tory, imperialist war because of the bourgeois character of that govern- 
ment. Bound up as it was with the banks and dependent financially and 
diplomatically on the more powerful British and French imperialists, 
the capitalist class could not wage any other kind of war but an imperial- 
st one. It was therefore impossible to end the war unless the power of 
WaS ovcrtnrown ' unless state power passed to the proletariat 
na the poorest strata of the peasantry which supported it. Only such a 
yovernment could give the people peace, bread and freedom and set the 
sun^^ *° n the path t0 socialism - Hence the Bolshevik slogans: "No 
an!wii ' not tne sli 9 ntest confidence in the Provisional Government!" 
Il « All power to the Soviets!" 

revol ^ April Tiieses Lenin proclaimed the goal as victory of a socialist 
Wrot >- n '' " The s P ecific fcat "rc of the present situation in Russia," he 
ISn- li-V^ at - hc country is P assin 9 from the first stage of the revolu- 
ti 0n p 1 J? ' owin 3 t0 tnc insufficient class-consciousness and organisa- 
ot the proletariat, placed power in the hands of the bourgeoisie- to 


its second stage, which must place power in the hands of the proletariat 
and the poorest sections of the peasants/'* 

This proposition is the basic and central theme that runs all through 
Lenin's Theses. 

As far back as 1905, Lenin had regarded the Soviets not merely as 
instruments of armed uprising but also as the embryo of a new, revolt 
tionary form of government. Mindful of the experience o£ the Pari s 
Commune and the Russian revolutions of 1905 and February 1917^ 
Lenin saw in the Soviets the political form of the dictatorship of the 
proletariat. "Not a parliamentary republic-to return to a parliamentary 
republic from the Soviets of Workers' Deputies would be a retrograde 
step-but a republic of Soviets of Workers', Agricultural Labourers' and 
Peasants' Deputies throughout the country, from top to bottom,"** Lenin 
wrote in his Theses. 

Marx had spoken of a new form of state power "of the type cl the 
Paris Commune". Marx and Engels said that the working class could 
not simply take over the old state machine ready-made and rule by 
means of it; it must replace that machine with a new one and convert 
its political supremacy into an instrument for the socialist reconstruction 
of society. The parliamentary republic, they said, constitutes progress as 
compared with absolutism, but does not abolish the domination of capital; 
it merely makes it easier for the working class to fight for the 
establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat. 

Kautsky, Plckhanov and other opportunists of the Second interna tonal 
distorted the teachings of Marx and Engels on the state, ignored Lheir 
ideas that it was necessary to create a new, higher type of demo 1 
state, and instead advocated the bourgeois political form of democracy^ 
the parliamentary republic, as the best form of state for the transition 
to socialism. Exposing these opportunists, Lenin showed that li 1 had 
produced a new "higher type of democratic state", in comparison with 
the parliamentary democratic republic, and that a republic of Soviets 
would be a state of that type. 

This was a great advance in Marxist theory, a discovery thai *W| 
to be of the greatest importance in ensuring the victory of the socialist 
revolution in October 1917, in setting up Soviet power and buUdmg 
socialism in the U.S.S.R., and in evolving the political forms ol 
the dictatorship of the working class in the People's Democracies ot 
Europe and Asia, and in Cuba, the island of freedom. 

The April Theses formulated the economic platform of the prolc-uU'iaa 
Party. Lenin held that the Party could not set itself the aim of im* 1 * 
diatcly "introducing" socialism and carrying out changes for whic" 
neither the economy nor the people were prepared. In the econom 1 
sphere he stood for carrying out at once the revolutionary measures tna 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 24, p. 22. 
** Ibid., p. 23. 


the situation actually demanded, that were absolutely essential to com- 
P t t he impending economic catastrophe and famine, and that would 
be comprehensible to and within the reach of the masses. Such measures 
W ere: first, nationalisation of all the land in the country along with 
confiscation of the landed estates and placing of the land at the disposal 
of the local Soviets of Agricultural Labourers' and Peasants' Deputies; 
conversion of the large estates that were confiscated into model farms 
under the control of the Soviets of Agricultural Labourers' Deputies; 
second, the immediate amalgamation of all the banks in the country 
into one national bank, to be placed under the control of the Soviets of 
Workers' Deputies; and third, the setting up of workers' control over 
the production and distribution of products. These measures, if executed 
in a revolutionary way, Lenin pointed out, would be an important step 
towards socialism. 

In his Theses Lenin formulated the Party's tactics in the struggle for 
a socialist revolution with the utmost clarity. These tactics were based 
on a Marxist analysis of the complex and contradictory situation. The 
specific feature of the February revolution was that in the course of its 
development a dual power had come into being. Alongside the bourgeois 
Provisional Government there existed the Soviets of Workers' and 
Soldiers' Deputies, in which the Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries had a majority. The Petrograd Soviet, which enjoyed the con- 
fidence of the local Soviets, had voluntarily conceded power to the Pro- 
visional Government and undertaken to support it, while remaining 
in the role of an observer and supervising the convocation of the 
Constituent Assembly. 

The great mass of the people, who were taking part in political life 
for the first time and had no experience of politics, were temporarily 
disorientated and could not immediately distinguish friend from foe. 
They still had defencist sentiments and followed the Mensheviks and the 
Socialist-Revolutionaries, taking a trustful attitude towards the promises 
of the bourgeois government. 

Lenin uncovered the deep socio-economic causes of the unreasoning 
trust that the broad sections of the working class and the urban and 
rural poor had for the capitalists, the worst enemies of peace and social- 
ism. Russia, he pointed out, was a petty-bourgeois country. The revolu- 
tion had immediately drawn into the movement a huge number of 
Piilistines and small proprietors, people who stood midway between 
he capitalists and the workers. "A gigantic petty-bourgeois wave has 
swept over everything and overwhelmed the class-conscious proletariat, 
«ot only by force of numbers but also ideologically; that is, it has infected 
*nd imbued very wide circles of workers with the petty-bourgeois 
Political outlook."* 

it B il lt ttle Bolsnevik Part y. said Lenin, should not drift with the current; 
^ho^old^be able to resist it and uphold its class, proletarian line. 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 24, p. 62. 

Lenin put forward the slogan "All Power to the Soviets!" but explained 
that in the circumstances then prevailing this slogan did not imp ] v 
call for the overthrow of the bourgeois Provisional Government by | ^ 
This government, Lenin wrote, should be overthrown because it waj 
unable to give the people peace, or bread, or full freedom. But it q 1 j 
not be overthrown immediately and "generally, it cannot be 'overthrown' 
in the ordinary way, for it rests on the 'support' given to the bourgeoisie 
by the second government, the Soviet of Workers' Deputies, and hat 
government is the only possible revolutionary government, which din U v 
expresses the mind and will of the maj ority of the workers and peas s - 
Armed action against the imperialist Provisional Government would 
have meant action against the Soviets too, against the majority of w\ 
and soldiers- We, Lenin said, are not Blanquists, not conspirators, aftd 
we have no wish to rule with a minority of the working class against 
the majority. The majority of the working class, the majority . the 
working people, must be won over to our side. The anti-popula im- 
perialist nature of the Provisional Government must be exposed, this 
government must be deposed by depriving it of the confidence and 
support of the workers and soldiers, and power must be concent rated 
entirely in the hands of the government of the Soviets. We must criticise 
and unmask the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, isolate them 
from the masses, and in this way win a majority in the Soviets. Under 
these conditions the struggle of classes and parties within the Soviets, 
once they had become sovereign institutions of state power, the tra isfei 
of power from one party to another, from the Socialist-Revolutic tries 
and Mensheviks to the Bolsheviks, would proceed peacefully, by means 
of fresh elections that would make the Soviets more democratic. 

By this profound analysis of the historical situation obtaining i Lire 
time, Lenin proved the possibility of a peaceful transfer of power to the 
proletariat. He armed Marxists with yet another convincing argument 
against the false allegations of the enemies of the proletariat, who claim 
that the Communists have always, under all circumstances, favoured the 
forcible seizure of power by the working class. 

Concerning matters within the Party. Lenin called for the immediate 
convocation of a Party Congress and amendment of the Party 
Programme. In his opinion the new programme should give an 
assessment of imperialism and imperialist wars, expound the teac ing 
of Marxism on the state, and advance the task of setting up a Soviet 

Lenin proposed that the Party's name be changed from Social-Demo- 
cratic to Communist Party, as Marx and Engels had called the proletarian 
party they had founded, since the official Social-Democratic leaders 
throughout the world had betrayed socialism. This name was scientifi- 
cally correct because the ultimate aim of the party of the proletariat wa-j 
to build a communist society. "It is time to cast off the soiled shirt and 
lo put on clean linen." wrote Lenin. 


T the sphere of the international working-class movement, Lenin 
prop°s ed as a practical task the creation of a third, Communist 

^Lenin's April Theses are an outstanding document of creative Marxism. 
Ti e y set the Party on a new and truly Marxist revolutionary course and 

med it uJith new programmatic and tactical slogans that had tremen- 
% us mobilising power. With these theses Lenin launched the Party on 
the hid a roa d °t consisted c ^ as s struggle for the victory of the socialist 
revolution. They were based on Lenin's brilliant proposition concerning 
the possibility of the victory of socialism in one country. 

Lenin's April Theses provided an ideological rallying point for the 
Bolshevik Party on the eve of the Seventh (April) Conference. They 
roused tremendous enthusiasm in the ranks of the Party and the working 
class and inspired the workers to fight for the establishment of the 
dictatorship of the proletariat. 

At a meeting of the Bolshevik group of the All-Russia Conference of 
Soviets on April 5 a miner from the Donets coalfield said: "Everything 
that Comrade Lenin suggests here is right. We've got to take over the 
factories and mills. We've got no bosses at our mine now. There're ten 
thousand workers at our mine and now we're working on our own, 
without a boss. We've set up a guard over the mine and we're running 

everything according to the rules But we haven't got any speakers 

and there's no one to explain what's going on. When the men get together, 
they ask me, as a Bolshevik, to explain it all to them. But I can only tell 
them one thing: 'Hold on tight, lads.' That's what I always say. There's 
nothing else I can tell them. So I now ask you, comrades, to send us 
some of the more educated comrades, who can give all our miners a 
better explanation about politics and how things will go on. Yes, 
Comrade Lenin is right in everything he said." 

This was a convincing answer from a Bolshevik worker to his leader's 

Lenin's theses were published in Pravda on April 7. The open Party 
discussion that followed lasted nearly three weeks and Lenin's position 
quickly won over leading Party workers and Party organisations. 
Kamenev, however, attacked Lenin's theses in Prauda. He dogmatically 
asserted that the Party ought to aim not at transition to a socialist revolu- 
tion but at completion of the bourgeois-democratic revolution and setting 
U P of a democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. 
Lenin rebuffed Kamenev in a pamphlet called Letters on Tactics and 

he article "The Dual Power". He showed how dangerous dogmatism 
J[as to Party activity and stressed the creative nature of Marxist theory. 

A * is essential to grasp the incontestiblc truth," he wrote, "that a Marxist 
*&Ust take cognisance of real life, of the true facts of reality, and not 

ln g to a theory of yesterday, which, like all theories, at best only 

Klines the main and the general, only comes near to 
111 a U its complexity. 


" 'Theory, my friend, is grey, but green is the eternal tree of lif c • 

"To deal with the question of 'completion' of the bourgeois revolution 
in the old way is to sacrifice living Marxism to the dead letter. 

"According to the old way of thinking, the rule of the bourgeoisie 
could and should be followed by the rule of the proletariat and Lh e 
peasantry, by their dictatorship. 

"In real life, however, things have already turned out differently' 
there has been an extremely original, novel and unprecedented interlacing 
oi the one with the other. We have side by side, existing together 
simultaneously, both the rule of the bourgeoisie (the government of 
Lvov and Guchkov) and a revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the 
proletariat and the peasantry, which is voluntarily ceding power to the 
"bourgeoisie, voluntarily making itself an appendage of the bourgeoisie."* 

The April Theses incensed the enemies of the revolutionary proletariat. 
A slanderous campaign was launched against the Bolsheviks. Provo- 
catory inventions and lies of the lowest kind were put about by the 
bourgeois press, primarily against Lenin. The fact that Lenin and other 
Bolsheviks had come to Russia through Germany was used to suggest that 
the new arrivals might be helping the German imperialists. The effect 
of this agitation was that some people started shouting in the streets for 
physical violence against Lenin. The Menshevik and Socialist-Revolu- 
tionary press trumpeted that a new enemy of Russian revolutionary 
democracy had appeared in the shape of "anarchist counter-revol- on" 
from the left, a danger that was supposed to stem from Lenin and the 
Bolsheviks. The bourgeois politicians bolstered this Menshevik thesis 
with the false charge against Lenin and the Bolsheviks that they were 
calling for "anarchy" and "civil war". 

Plekhanov declared the April Theses to be anarchism and Blam. 15m. 
"Lenin has only just arrived, he doesn't know Russia," bawled Dan. 
Lenin is "destroying Marxism" with his Theses, announced Ts, 
making play with a quotation from Engels's The Peasant W in 
Germany, which stated that a class that seized power prematurely 
perish. Chkheidze prophesied complete isolation for the Bolshevik 
leader: "Lenin alone will remain outside the revolution, and we iJ30 
all go our own way." History has played a malicious joke on this 
Menshevik "prophecy". 

The Petrograd City Conference of Bolsheviks opened on April 14. 
It elected Lenin as its honorary chairman. Lenin delivered a report to 
the conference and summed up the debate on the current situation and 
the attitude to be adopted towards the Provisional Government. His 
speeches made a deep impression. Most of the delegates came out in 
support of Lenin's Theses and the resolution on the attitude tc ' ' 
the Provisional Government, moved by Lenin, was passed by an over- 
whelming majority. It called on the Bolsheviks of Petrograd to take 
energetic action and to prepare for a socialist revolution in Russia- 

* V. r. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 24, pp. 45-46. 




renin's tactics were thus approved by the Petrograd Party organisation, 
the largest in the country. 

The Petrograd City Conference was interrupted by a mighty political 
demonstration of the Petrograd workers and soldiers protesting against 
the imperialist policy of the Provisional Government. It was sparked off 
on April 20 by a note sent by P. Milyukov, the Minister for Foreign 
Affairs, to the Allied Powers, declaring the government's readiness "fully 
to observe the obligations undertaken in respect of our allies", and its 
"desire to continue the world war until a decisive victory is achieved". 
From April 20th to 21st the capital was at fever pitch. More than 
100,000 demonstrators, indignant at the Provisional Government's trick- 
ery, marched with slogans demanding: "All Power to the Soviets!" 
"Down with the War!" "Down with Milyukov!" "Down with Guchkov!" 
Defencist sentiments were being cast aside and the universal cry was 
for peace. Demonstrations were also held in other cities. 

This mighty demonstration of protest by the Petrograd workers and 
soldiers was a wonderful confirmation, and an unexpectedly rapid one 
at that, of the correctness of Lenin's tactics for the Party as a whole, 
the correctness of Lenin's slogan "No Support for the Provisional Gov- 
ernment!" Petrograd and all Russia, Lenin wrote, had passed through 
a serious political crisis, the first since the revolution. Supported once 
again by the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik leaders of the 
Petrograd Soviet, the Provisional Government preserved its tottering 
power. The most unpopular ministers, Milyukov and Guchkov, were 
forced to resign. A coalition Provisional Government was formed, which 
included six socialists from the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik 
parties who openly linked their policy with the policy of the bourgeoisie. 

During the April demonstration a small group of members of the 
Petrograd Bolshevik organisation headed by Bagdatyev, advanced a 
slogan calling for the immediate overthrow of the Provisional Govern- 
ment. Since this slogan ran counter to the Party's line on the peaceful 
development of the revolution, on the gradual winning of a majority 
m the Soviets, the Central Committee, at Lenin's suggestion and on his 
mitiative, corrected these lone figures who wanted to rush on ahead. 
The Central Committee explained that it was essential that the majority 
of the people be firmly rallied round the revolutionary proletariat, that 
P ess tni s condition were observed an attack on the Provisional 
Government would be sheer recklessness. 

The Party approves Lenin's political line. The Petrograd Confer- 
ee was soon to be followed by the All-Russia Party Conference. Lenin 
Prepared enthusiastically and with great care for this conference, the 
™ legal Party conference to be held in Russia. On April 10, he wrote 
V^portant work The Tasks of the Proletariat in Our Revolution, 
fi ich he regarded as a draft platform for the proletarian party. He also 
an?c red for the con£erence "Draft Changes in the Theoretical, Political 
a Some Other Parts of the Programme" of the Party. In the main hall 
e Kshesinskaya Palace on April 23 Lenin conducted a preliminary 


meeting of the delegates who had arrived for the conference. Al the 
request of those present Lenin gave an analysis o£ the development of 
the Russian revolution. He devoted a considerable part of his speech 
to the cuiTent situation, particularly the political crisis that had arisen 
between the 19th and 21st of April over the Provisional Government's 
note on the subject of the war. 

The Seventh All-Russia Conference of Bolsheviks opened in Pctrograd 
on April 24 with an introductory speech by Lenin, who was warmly 
welcomed by the delegates. 

"The great honour of beginning the revolution," he said, "has fallen 
to the Russian proletariat. But the Russian proletariat must not forget 
that its movement and revolution are only part of a world revolulio y dvy 
proletarian movement "* 

All the work of the conference proceeded under Lenin's 
leadership. He delivered reports on the current situation, or. the 
agrarian question, and on the revision of the Party Programme, 
developing and illustrating in concrete terms the brilliant proposi lions 
formulated in the April Theses. "The basic question of every revolu- 
tion," he explained, "is that of state power."** The bourgeois-demo ratic 
revolution in Russia had decided this question. But since power had, 
in fact, passed to the bourgeoisie, and to the landowners who had 
become bourgeois, the February revolution had not given the people 
bread, peace or freedom. To withdraw from the imperialist war, to win 
real freedom, and secure bread and land, it was necessary to transfer 
all power to the workers and the poorest strata of the peasantry, united 
in the Soviets. 

In his speeches at the conference Lenin gave a profound expla • Lion 
of the world historical significance of the Soviets and showed t ' 
the conditions then obtaining, the slogan "All Power to the Sc ietsT 
was the Party's principal slogan, whose aim was to put an end to the 
power of the bourgeoisie and establish working-class dictatorship. The 
conference approved Lenin's policy of peaceful development q the 

The conference passed a resolution, moved by Lenin, on the nation? 
alities question, demanding the right of nations to self-determination, 
including the right to secede and form independent states. Only recogni- 
tion of this right, said Lenin, would ensure complete solidarity of the 
workers, solidarity of all the working people of the various natio: A 
the same time he considered that the question of the right ot 
to free secession must not be confused with the question «\ 
advisability of a given nation seceding. "The party of the proletary 
must decide the latter question quite independently in each patt^ ul 
case, having regard to the interests of social development as a wnoj^ 
and the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat for sociali 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 24, p. 227. 
** Ibid., p. 38. 
*** Ibid., pp. 302-03. 


Lenin resolutely opposed the anti-Party stand taken by Kamenev and 
Kykov, who echoed the Mcnsheviks in alleging that objective conditions 
for a socialist revolution did not exist in Russia. Lenin proved the 
unsoundness of Rykov's claim that socialism should come to Russia 
from other countries with a higher level of industrial development, and 
remarked; "This is not Marxism; it is a parody of Marxism." He also 
sharp^ criticised Pyatakov's national chauvinist views on the 
nationalities question. 

The conference unanimously approved Lenin's policy of developing 
the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist revolution. 

In his report on the agrarian question Lenin proved the necessity 
of nationalising all the land. This measure, he said, would free peasant 
landownership of its semi-feudal fetters, and abolish the landed estates, 
which were the material mainstay of the power of the feudal landowners. 
Moreover, since it meant abolition of private ownership of land, land 
nationalisation would in practice deal a heavy blow at private ownership 
of all the means of production in general. Referring to the resolution 
Lenin advised the delegates to mention first that the Bolshevik Party 
was fighting for immediate and complete confiscation of all the landed 
estates and vigorously campaigning for the handing over of all the 
land to the peasants, and then to mention the nationalisation of the 
land, for the carrying out of which a state law would have to be passed. 
What matters for us, he said, is revolutionary initiative, and the law 
must be its result. The peasants must be told: "U you wait until the 
law is written, and yourselves do not develop revolutionary initiative, 
you will have neither the law nor the land."* The conference approved 
all Lenin's proposals on the agrarian question and its decisions played 
an enormous part in rallying the peasantry round the working class. 

Lenin paid particular attention to the reports from the local Party 
organisations, especially those which dealt with the activity of the 
Soviets. "This may be," he said, "the most important material the con- 
terence has provided, it is material that enables us to test our slogans 
against the actual course of events. The picture it gives prompts us to 
draw optimistic conclusions/'** In a number of regions and towns the 
ocal Soviets had moved further ahead in carrying out revolutionary 
Pleasures than the Soviets of Moscow and Petrograd. This confirmed 
oat Lenm was right in his policy of calling for preparation "on an All- 
Russia scale of forces for the second stage of the revolution". 

-The conference passed a resolution on rallying the internationalists, 
ne resolution admitted the need to bring together and unite groups 
thn r, that really stood for internationalism on condition that 

ey broke with the policy of petty-bourgeois betrayal of socialism, 
^analogous resolution was subsequently passed at the Sixth Party 

** Y- L Lenin > Collected Works, Vol. 24, p. 285. 
City r v ? nth (April) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks). Petroqrad 
^4ow° n i95s"p C 145 RS - DLP 't Bolshcviks )- ASti! 1917. Minutes, Russ. ed.. 


Congress. On the basis of these decisions many internationalists were 
admitted to the Bolshevik Party in Petrograd, Moscow and local Party 

On the basis of Lenin's report the conference passed a resolution 
on the revision of the Party Programme and indicated on what line it 
was to be carried out. The conference instructed the Central Commi!t ee 
to draw up a draft of the Party Programme within two months and 
submit it for approval by a Party Congress, It also instructed the Central 
Committee to take the initiative in forming a Third International. 

The All-Russia (April) Conference of Bolsheviks was of tremendous 
importance in the work of the Party and the development of the 
socialist revolution in Russia. It indicated the only sure way of dealing 
with the tasks that faced the revolution-transfer of all state powe • to 
the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies throughout Rus- 
sia. In importance, this conference was equal to a Party Congress It 
elected a Central Committee headed by Lenin. 

Later, Lenin delivered a long report summing up the results of the 
April Conference at a general meeting of the Petrograd Bolshevik 
organisation. Between five and six thousand people attended the r. eet- 
ing, which was held in the great hall of the Naval Cadet Corps, ike 
the rest of the Party, the Petrograd Bolsheviks approved the conference 
decisions unanimously and under the leadership of the Central 
Committee headed by Lenin set to work energetically among the 

Close to the people. The April Conference launched a new stage in 
Party activity. Armed with Lenin's instructions on all the problems of 
the socialist revolution, the Party started a tremendous political and 
organisational drive among the workers, peasants and soldiers. 

Lenin was at the centre of all the various activities of the Party and 
its Central Committee. He received comrades from the local ] rty 
organisations, and gave them detailed instructions; he talked to workers 
and soldiers and to peasant messengers who came from the villages. 
He also gave a considerable part of his time to the daily direction- of 
the work of the Party's Central Oxgan-Pzavda. Here he held brief 
conferences on current matters concerning Party work and nearly 
every day wrote articles that gave clear and simple explanations o£ 
political events and the intrigues of the class enemy, and indicated to 
the working people the only sure way of achieving victory over cap* 
italism, of achieving a socialist revolution. In the ninety days between 
his return to Russia and the July Days he wrote more than 170 articles, 
pamphlets and draft resolutions for Bolshevik conferences and the 
Central Committee, as well as appeals to the workers and soldiers, and 
to all the working people of Petrograd. His work on Prauda, writiflSJ 
articles for the workers and soldiers, and being in their company 
afforded Lenin genuine pleasure. He worked with joyful zest, infecting 
everyone with his extraordinary energy and faith in the victory of the 
socialist revolution. 


At that time meetings of workers and soldiers were being held in 
Petrograd every day. At these meetings the Bolsheviks fought veritable 
political and ideological battles with the Menshcviks and Socialist- 
revolutionaries. On April 10, Lenin talked to a meeting of the men of 
the Izmailovo Regiment and the 2nd Artillery Brigade of Guards about 
revolutionary state structure. On April 15, he spoke to soldiers of an 
armoured battalion and other units. 

The May Day demonstration in Petrograd in 1917 was the first free 
demonstration to be held in Russia and it was the finest and grandest 
demonstration that had ever taken place in the whole international 
history of this holiday. Meetings were held in all the squares. Lenin 
addressed a meeting on the Field of Mars. He spoke of the way the 
overwhelming majority of the socialist parties had betrayed the cause 
of international solidarity of the working people of all countries, and 
called upon the Russian working class to create a new and genuinely 
proletarian International. He ended his speech with the words: "Down 
with the war I Long live peace and the struggle for a proletarian socialist 
republic!" In the evening he addressed a meeting of the workers 
of the Okhta Gunpowder Factory. During May, Lenin spoke at 
meetings attended by thousands of workers at many of the enterprises 
of Petrograd. 

In order to whip up support for the Provisional Government among 
the Putilov workers, the Socialist-Revolutionaries had arranged a meet- 
ing for May 12 at which the Socialist-Revolutionary leader Chernov, 
the "peasant minister", was to speak. The local Socialist-Revolutionaries 
were tying themselves in knots to ensure success for the chief orator 
of their party, and the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party was 
immediately informed of this by the Putilov Bolsheviks. The meeting 
was attended by tens of thousands of workers. In his speech Chernov 
used every argument he could think of to justify the war and called 
on the workers to make more guns for the front and to support the 
Provisional Government. At that time defencist sentiments were still 
prevalent among the workers at this factory. 

When Chernov had finished, Lenin mounted the rostrum. His argu- 
ments were diametrically opposed to Chernov's. Instead of waging 
War, said Lenin, it was essential, by all means, to conclude a peace 
without annexations and indemnities, to stop the bloodshed, and to 
overcome the poverty and famine that Russia and all the peoples were 

Workers' recollections of Lenin's speeches have been preserved. 
£yotr Danilov, an old Putilov worker-Bolshevik, tells of the 
endous effect Lenin's speech had on the workers at the Putilov 
? the Kirov) Works. 

What Chernov said," recalls Pyotr Danilov, "was like a trickle of 
ater running under our feet. But what Lenin said gripped us and fired 
^ Ur imagination. Fear vanished and all our tiredness dropped away. It 
as as if not just Ilyich alone was speaking. It was as if the whole 


forty thousand workers sitting or standing there were speaking, ex- 
pressing their innermost thoughts. It was as if everything the work 
had pent up inside them was coming out in the one voice of Ilyich. 
Everything that each man had thought about, struggled with by himse 
everything he couldn't find the words for or the opportunity to express 
clearly and fully to a comrade, everything suddenly took shape and 
came out.... That meeting did great things for history. It got i e 
Putilov masses moving and the Putilov masses moved into the 

After Lenin's speech the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshcvik 
organisations at the Putilov Works dwindled rapidly and the work g 
went over to the Bolsheviks. 

Vasily Yernelyanov, who used to work at the Scmyannikov W 
recalls another meeting which was held in April and addressed by 
Lenin. "Lenin told us why the revolution had taken place, what [he 
proletariat had to do to put an end to the imperialist war, how to .set 
about the new job and many other things. 

"When he finished speaking, the applause was terrific. I had atte 
meetings at the very beginning of 1917 and heard various speakers, 
Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, and all kinds of parties, but I had never 
heard a speaker like Lenin. His words brought people together d 
showed every worker what to do and how to do it. When he finished, 
many had tears in their eyes. And the men who had St. George medals 
and Gold Crosses tore them off and handed them in as contributions 
to the Party funds, for the proletariat's fight against the bourgeoisie. . . . 
And, of course, three thousand future fighters armed themselves at that 

meeting with Lenin's weapon-like words Inspired by Lenin, we were 

all burning with the desire to plunge into the fight."** 

Under Lenin's leadership the Party steadily and persistently over- 
came the difficulties in its path and won over from the Mensheviks md 
Socialist-Revolutionaries factory after factory, regiment after regiment, 
village after village. The majority of the working people, how 
still supported the compromising parties. The bulk of the peasants 
still believed in the Socialist-Revolutionaries. This became apparent 
at the First All-Russia Congress of Peasants' Deputies, which was 
from May 4 to May 28, 1917. The Bolsheviks took an active part in 
the work of the Congress, exposed the imperialist policy of he 
Provisional Government and the false and hypocritical conduct of the 
Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries. Lenin addressed an 
letter to the Congress delegates, moved a draft resolution in the 1 \Ste 
of the Bolsheviks and made a speech on the agrarian question. 

The atmosphere at the Congress in which the Bolshevik leader has 
to speak was far from favourable. Most of the delegates had been 
indoctrinated beforehand by the Socialist-Revolutionaries and 

* Workers' Stories of Lenin, Rttss, ed„ Moscow, 1934. pp. 37, 38. 
** Ibid., pp. 39, 40. 


'nclmed to support the coalition Provisional Government.* The socialist 
ministers who spoke were given prepared ovations and an impressive 
JJefencist majority was built up at the Congress. The majority was also 
strengthened by the speeches of prominent socialist members of the 
Second International-Thomas, Vandcrvclde and others, who declared 
that the workers and peasants of Britain, France and Belgium wanted 
to go on with the war in order to smash the Germans and so obtain 
"peace for all time". The Congress passed the Socialist-Revolutionaries' 
resolution calling for war "to a victorious conclusion". 

On the main question, the agrarian question, the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries used their best speakers, who urged the peasants to ignore 
the Bolsheviks' call for immediate seizure of the landed estates. Don't 
encroach on the landowners' property rights whatever you do, they said. 
When the time comes, the "master of the Russian land", the Constituent 
Assembly, will be convoked and then the land question will be settled. 
It was in this situation that Lenin had to make his speech. A. Kuchkin, 
who took part in the Congress, recalls: 

"At first, there were some interruptions from the Right-wing benches, 
but they were not heard for long. The delegates, particularly the peas- 
ants, watched Lenin's face and gestures with close attention. He paced 
to and fro on the platform, his voice rang out strongly, and his clear, 
precise words were understood by all. 

"Lenin ended his speech and there was a roar of applause from the 
majority of the Congress. The applause was a surprise even to many 
who applaudcd-they had been so carried away by Lenin's speech/'** 

Lenin called for the establishment o£ a strong government of the 
Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies, for the organised 
take-over of the landed estates by the peasant land committees without 
waiting for the convocation of the Constituent Assembly, for the nation- 
alisation of all the land, for the independent organisation of agricul- 
tural workers and the poorest peasants, and for the creation, on the 
basis of the big landowners' estates, of model state farms under the 
direction of the Soviets of Agricultural Workers. His speech left its 
mark. It did not influence the decisions of this particular Congress, but 
the delegates from the provinces went away with it in their minds and 
carried it to all parts of Russia. Lenin's speeches on the agrarian 
question were published as a separate pamphlet and widely circulated in 
the rural areas and the army. 

Lenin considered that the Party's first big success in the struggle for 
the masses was the Bolshevik victory in the factory committees of 
Petrograd. The First Petrograd Conference of Factory Committees was 
held between the end of May and the beginning of June, and the 

* The first coalition government was formed on May 5 (18), 1917. In addition 
™ representatives of the bourgeoisie it included the Socialist-Revolutionaries Ke- 
^ensky and Chernov, Percverzev, who was close to the Socialist-Revolutionaries, the 
nshevikb Skobelcv and Tsereteli, and the "Popular Socialist" Poshckhonov. 
** Reminiscences oi Lenin, Russ. ed., 1956, Part 1, p. 512. 


proletariat of the capital sent their best people to attend it. The confer- 
ence was arranged by the workers themselves and its programme was 
drawn up at the factories. For two days the delegates debated the vital 
question of the economic situation and general dislocation in the country 
and the question of workers' control over production. On May 31, the 
conference was addressed by Lenin, who linked the question of contra] 
with the question of state power. The great majority of the Petrogi id 
workers supported Lenin on one of the key questions of the revolution- 
workers' control. 

The First All-Russia Congress of Soviets. The First All-Russia Con- 
gress of Soviets met at the beginning of June. Out of a total o£ 1,090, 
the Bolsheviks had only 105 delegates at the Congress. The bulk ol the 
delegates belonged to the Mcnshevik-Socialist-Revolutionary bloc 
the groups supporting it. 

The report on the first question on the agenda "The Provisional 
Government and Revolutionary Democracy" was delivered by the 
Menshevik Lieber, who spoke on behalf of the Executive Committee 
of the Petrograd Soviet. He was followed by Tsereteli, Minister of Post 
and Telegraph Services in the coalition government and leader of the 
Mensheviks. Tsereteli made a long speech rejecting the Bolsheviks' 
proposal to set up a Soviet government. Supporting Lieber's thesis that 
it was necessary to consolidate the bloc of all democratic parties imd 
form a coalition government, he stated: "At the present moment e 
is not a single political party in Russia that is prepared to say: 'Hand 
over the power to us, get out, and we will take your place.' " 

Whereupon a firm and resolute voice rang out from the middle of 
the silent hall : 

"There is such a party!" 

The voice was that of Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik Party. 
People who were present relate that his words came like a thunderbolt, 
and caused a great stir in the hall and confusion on the platform. c 
hall hummed with voices. Tsereteli, the smooth flow of his oratory 
interrupted by Lenin's unexpected retort, hurriedly rounded off his 
speech. Lenin went to the rostrum. He made a forceful speech on the 
attitude to be adopted towards the Provisional Government. Referring 
to Tsereteli's assertion that there was not a single party in Russia that 
would consent to assume full power, Lenin exclaimed once again, from 
the rostrum: "I reply: 'Yes, there is/ No party can refuse this, and our 
Party certainly doesn't. It is ready to take over full power at my 

Lenin showed in his speech that the so-called "revolutionary 
democracy" the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries were defending 
was, in fact, not revolutionary but the bourgeois democracy recognised 
by all bourgeois governments. Under the conditions of the Russia 1 * 
revolution, when the creative initiative of the masses had given rise to 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Wotiis, Vol. 25, p. 20. 


t he Soviets, the programme of bourgeois democracy was past history, 
for a real democracy of the masses had come into being in the shape of 
the Soviets. The April Conference of the Bolsheviks had produced a 
real programme for the solution of all the urgent problems that were 
worrying the people. The answer to economic dislocation was genuine 
control by the workers. This was not socialism, but it was a measure 
that would have important practical results in restraining the capitalists 
w ho were waging the imperialist war. 

Explaining the Bolshevik standpoint on the nationalities question and 
condemning the chauvinist policy of the Provisional Government with 
regard to Finland and the Ukraine, Lenin stated that the politically- 
conscious proletariat following the Bolshevik Party did not want to 
oppress and would never oppress any people. "We want a single and 
undivided republic of Russia with a firm government. But a firm 
government can be secured only by the voluntary agreement of all 
peoples concerned."* 

Lenin argued passionately with the Congress delegates that the Soviets 
must take power into their own hands. "You have gone through 1905 
and 1917. You know that revolution is not made to order, that revolu- 
tions in other countries were made by the hard and bloody method of 
insurrection, and in Russia there is no group, no class, that would resist 
the power of the Soviets. In Russia, this revolution can, by way of 
exception, be a peaceful one."** 

The impression made by Lenin's speech was so powerful that when 
his time was up, nearly the whole Congress demanded an extension. 
In the second part of his speech Lenin warned the Congress of Soviets 
that it was a question of advancing or retreating. During a revolution 
it was impossible to mark time; power must be transferred to the 
revolutionary proletariat, supported by the poorest strata of the 

To weaken the effect of Lenin's speech the Congress "bosses", the 
Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries, immediately sent their 
best speakers-Kerensky, Skobelev (Minister of Labour), Chernov 
(Minister of Agriculture), and the Menshevik leader Dan-to the rostrum. 
Throughout eight sittings they all tried to refute Lenin, using unworthy 
Polemical devices to do so. Their efforts became almost comic when 
the Socialist-Revolutionary Kerensky tried to teach Lenin "Marxism", 
Renin's speech on the attitude to be adopted towards the Provisional 
government was supported by speeches from the Bolshevik delegates 
Krylenko, V. Nogin, B. Shumyatsky and others. When the debate 
r^as over, fearing a swing in the voting, the Mensheviks and the 
°cialist-Revolutionaries announced an interval, during which delegates 
r om local organisations were heavily briefed. Then a stratagem was 
^ed- The matter was put to the vote in the form of a joint draft 

[ * V. i. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 25, pp. 22-23. 
r * Ibid., p. 23. 


resolution, which was passed by a majority of the Congress. L 
resolution approved the setting up o£ the coalition government j 
opposed the transfer of power to the Soviets. 

Lenin's second speech to the Congress, which he made on June 9 t 
dealt with the question of the war. He said that because of the foreign 
policy supported by the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Menshc , 
the revolutionary workers and the toiling peasantry had been placet Ltj 
an unbelievably muddled situation. As working classes, they had no 
interest in plans of conquest. It was only because of the trickery 
practised by the bourgeoisie, the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the 
Mensheviks, that large numbers of them had taken up a defencist stand- 
point. The masses did riot yet understand that the war was a continua- 
tion of the imperialist policy of the bourgeoisie of various countries. 
Withdrawal from the war could only be achieved by the victory a 
socialist revolution. 

The Congress delegates, particularly the soldiers, listened eagc 
every word Lenin had to say about war and peace. Many of them gradu- 
ally began to shake off the prejudices against the Bolshevik line tat 
had been drummed into their heads by the slanderous articles in the 
bourgeois and petty-bourgeois newspapers. 

The First Congress of Soviets showed up the open retreat of the 
Menshcvik and Socialist-Revolutionary leaders from the revolution. By 
rejecting the Bolshevik proposals on war and peace, and the tra ov 
of power to the Soviets, by approving the policy of the Provisional 
Government, the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik majority were 
turning the Soviets into an appendage of the Provisional Government. 

The June demonstration. Meanwhile disturbances had begun i 
working-class districts of Petrograd on account of increasing ecor flic 
dislocation, the rising cost of living, discontent with the policy of the 
Provisional Government, and indignation over the activities o: 
counter-revolutionaries, who were becoming more and more arrogant. 

On June 8, members of the Central Committee and the Petr ad 
Committee held a joint meeting with representatives of all Petrograd 
districts and many of the military units in the city. The overwhelming 
majority at the meeting came out in favour of channelling this b as 
movement of the masses into an organised and peaceful demons Ir: on 
The Bolshevik Central Committee thereupon published in Pravda s :alJ 
for a peaceful demonstration on June 10. 

The Socialist- Revolutionary-Menshevik majority in the presidir Of 
the All-Russia Congress of Soviets banned the demonstration planned 
by the Bolsheviks and accused them of a "conspiracy" to overt 
the Provisional Government and the Soviets. Refusal to abide by 
decision would have meant taking a stand against the Congress of Soviets. 
The Bolshevik Central Committee on Lenin's suggestion decided late at 
night on June 9 to call off the demonstration. Early in the morning ? fl 
June 10, the whole organisational and agitational apparatus of the 
Central Committee and the Petrograd Party Committee and the district 


organisations was sent out to the factories and barracks to restrain the 
masses from demonstrating and explain to them the situation that had 
arisen. This task was fulfilled, although the masses were seething with 
indignation and openly expressed their dissatisfaction over the conduct 
of the Congress of Soviets, This was an instance of the flexibility of the 
Bolshevik leadership and the Party's rapidly growing influence among 
the workers and soldiers. 

The Socialist-Rcvolutionary-Mcnshevik leadership of the Congress of 
Soviets and the Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet decided 
to hold their own demonstration on June IS, hoping to conduct it under 
their slogans calling for compromise. The day was chosen with the 
knowledge that Kerensky had decided on this date for the launching 
of an offensive at the front; the organisers of the "procession" counted 
on gaining the support of the masses for the Provisional Government 
and its military plans. 
The Bolsheviks launched a tremendous campaign in connection with 
is demonstration, Lenin himself taking a most energetic part in the 
parations. He formulated slogans and conducted a personal check 
see that all the necessary placards and banners had been repaired. 
He demanded that the Bolshevik slogans should overshadow all the rest, 
that there should be Bolshevik speakers everywhere encouraging the 
people with shouts of "Down with war, long live peace!" and "All 
power to the Soviets'" Lenin himself entered his name on the list of 
speakers for the Field of Mars. A real leader of the proletariat, Lenin 
directed all the preparations for this great peaceful battle against the 
Mensheviks and the Socialist-Revolutionaries for influence over the 
masses. The Bolshevik Central Committee appealed to all working 
people, all the workers and soldiers of Petrograd to rally in a united 
demonstration of the forces of the revolution against the counter- 

On June 18, half a million workers and soldiers marched through the 
streets of Petrograd under Bolshevik slogans. This was a big advance 
for the Bolshevik Party towards creating a political army of the 

'The demonstration," Lenin wrote, "in a few hours scattered to the 
winds, like a handful of dust, the empty talk about Bolshevik conspira- 
tors and showed with the utmost clarity that the vanguard of the work- 
up people of Russia, the industrial proletariat of the capital, and the 
overwhelming majority of the troops support slogans that our Party has 
always advocated."* 

The June demonstration showed manifestly that the Bolsheviks were 
^coming the party of the masses in the capital-the centre of the Russian 
haH u tion ' This Bolshevik victory was all the more significant since it 

a been won at the height of a slander campaign, even more vicious 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 25, p. 109. 


than in tsarist days, against the Bolshevik Party, and particularly against 
Lenin. The bourgeois and Socialist-Revolutionary-Menshevik newspapers 
were trying to pin on the Bolsheviks the monstrous charge that they 
were- "working for Wilhclm II", 

This unscrupulous lie evoked an angry protest from the politically- 
conscious workers and soldiers. In their speeches and reports at meet- 
ings and conferences the Bolsheviks exposed this charge as a scurrilous 
libel They were listened to with the greatest attention by the workers 
and soldiers. Resolutions expressing complete trust in Lenin and other 
emigre Bolsheviks who had returned from abroad after the February 
revolution were often carried amid loud applause by the thousands 
attending the meetings. 

More and more letters came to Lenin and Pravda, from workers, peas- 
ants and soldiers expressing their sympathy and trust in him. One of 
these letters, for instance, says: "Comrade Lenin! Like many soldiers on 
active service I am constantly hearing talk about you and your actions 
as a fighter for freedom and a true friend of the proletariat." In another 
letter we read: "Comrade Lenin, friend, remember that all of us, soldiers, 
are ready to a man to follow you anywhere, and that your idea 
expresses the will of the peasants and workers." 

In the Kshesinskaya Palace, between June 16 and 23 the C tral 
Committee of the Party held an All-Russia Conference of Bolshevik r!.y 
Army Organisations at the front and in the rear. Lenin addressed the 
conference on June 20 and spoke on the current situation. He called 
on the Bolshevik military organisations to spare no effort in preparing 
the forces of the proletariat and the army for the next stage of the revo- 
lution, and to be on the alert for any attempts the counter-re volution a ries 
might make to disarm the revolutionary workers and disband the revo- 
lutionary regiments, particularly in Petrograd. But he warned Etg iilSt 
hasty decisions and premature actions. Lenin also delivered a repo on 
the agrarian question, after which the resolution of the April Conference 
was approved. 

The July days. By the end of June the pressure of work was b Tu- 
ning to tell on Lenin's health. Overstrain and constant lack of sicep 
were giving him headaches and insomnia. He went for a few 
rest to Bonch-Bruyevich's country-house at the village of Ncivola, rear 
Mustamaki on the railway line to Finland. But his holiday Was 
interrupted by disturbances in Petrograd. 

News of the reckless offensive which Kerensky had launched on 
June 18 and subsequent rumours reaching the capital about the ± ]:e 
of this offensive, about fresh lives sacrificed at the will of the imperial' 
ists, touched off an explosion of indignation among the workers and 
soldiers. The hypocrisy of the Provisional Government and the 
subservient conduct of the Mcnsheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries who 
played up to the bourgeois government were fully revealed. 

On July 3, masses of workers and soldiers came out into the streets 
of Petrograd demanding the transfer of all power to the Soviets. Tee 


ation was critical in the extreme. Armed action would have been 
Sl *emature at the time, for a revolutionary crisis had not yet matured 
^nd the army and the provinces were not yet prepared to support the 
petrograd workers. The bourgeoisie was making ready to crush the 
movement and drown it in the blood of the working people. 

Late at night on July 3, the Central Committee together with the 
Petrograd Party Committee and the Military Organisation passed a 
decision instructing the Bolshevik organisations to take part in the 
demonstration of workers and soldiers on July 4 in order to lend it a 
peaceful and organised character. 

To be able to direct the demonstration more effectively, members of 
the Bolshevik Central Committee moved during the night from the 
Kshesinskaya Palace to the Taurida Palace, where the columns of workers 
and soldiers were converging. Representatives of regiments and factories 
came to the palace for instructions and advice in a steady stream. Early 
in the morning the Bolshevik agitators began to distribute the Central 
Committee's appeal for a peaceful demonstration in ail districts of the 

At about 1 a.m. the columns of the 1st Machine-Gun and 180th In- 
fantry Reserve regiments and a huge group of workers from the Putilov 
Works arrived at the palace. The workers and soldiers demanded of the 
Central Executive Committee of the Soviets that it take over power and 
declare the Provisional Government deposed. But the Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries and the Mensheviks refused point-blank to accept this demand; 
they were scheming with the government to have the demonstration 
suppressed. The military cadet school units and counter-revolutionary 
Cossack regiments were concentrated round the Taurida Palace. 

At this critical moment early in the morning on July 4 Lenin, who 
had not recovered his strength, arrived in Petrograd. As soon as he 
learned what was happening in the city, he fully endorsed the measures 
taken by the Party's Central Committee and took direct charge over the 
activities of the Party. 

At about midday a grandiose demonstration began, with more than 
500,000 workers from all districts in Petrograd and soldiers of the 
Petrograd Garrison taking part. Perfect order reigned in the city. The 
demonstrators marched first to the Kshesinskaya Palace, where brief 
meetings were held. When a column of several thousand Kronstadt 
sailors marched past the Kshesinskaya Palace, they shouted for Lenin 
to speak. They were told he was unwell and could not address them, 
so they asked if he could just show himself. Presently he came out on the 
balcony. The sailors welcomed him with a great cheer. Leaning on the 

alcony rail, Lenin watched the demonstrators and smiled a greeting. 
i hen he made a short speech, in which he welcomed the Kronstadt 

j*Uors on behalf of the Petrograd workers and expressed his firm belief 

lat the slogan of "All power to the Soviets!" would win, no matter what 
^"expected turns the revolution might take in its historical path. He 

r £ed the sailors and workers to show restraint, firmness and vigilance. 

From the Kshesinskaya Palace the demonstrators' columns moved 
to the Taurida Palace, the headquarters of the Central Exeeutiv 
Committee of the Soviets and the Petrograd Soviet. Most of their banner* 
and streamers bore the slogans: "All power to the Soviets!", "Down 
with the capitalist ministers!" and "Bread, peace, freedom!" 

The mighty July demonstration of soldiers and workers terrified the 
bourgeoisie and its Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary hangers-on 
as well as the counter-revolutionary generals and the Anglo-French 
imperialists. The demonstrators were lired upon and the streets f 
Petrograd ran with blood. On the night of July 4, a conference of 
members of the Central Committee and the Petrograd Committee, pre- 
sided over by Lenin, passed a decision to stop the demonstration and 
called upon the demonstrators to disperse peacefully to the factories, 
barracks, and ships. The Bolshevik Party managed to withdraw its main 
forces out o£ range of the counter-revolution. 

In the days that followed, mass searches and confiscation of arms were 
carried out among the workers. Revolutionary regiments were disarmed^ 
arrests were made among the soldiers. The British ambassador in Peiror 
grad Buchanan demanded that the Provisional Government should i trm 
all Petrograd workers, reintroduce capital punishment at the front and 
deal summarily with the participants in the July demonstration. An 
attack was immediately launched on the Bolshevik Party, and on Lenin. 
On the night of July 4, the premises of Bolshevik organisations were 

Early in the morning on July 5, military cadets wrecked the i add 
editorial office. Lenin, who had called there just before they raided the 
place, nearly fell into their hands. The Trud printing plant, which had 
been bought with money contributed to the Bolshevik Party t the 
workers, was also raided. 

An unbridled campaign of slander was launched against Lenin. 
Alcxinsky, an agent provocateur and slanderer of the worst kind, had 
told the Petrograd Journalists' Committee 021 July 4 that he possessed 
documentary evidence confirming the charge that Lenin was a German 
spy. This statement was so fantastic that Chkhcidze, the Chairman of 
the Central Executive Committee of Soviets, on his own behalf and on 
behalf of Tscreteli, a member of the Provisional Government, telephoned 
all the big Petrograd newspapers asking them not to print Alexii^ky's 
libel. Only Zh'woye Slovo {Living Word), a tabloid catering for the most 
backward sections of the city's population, published Alexinsky's slander- 
ous allegation. The frantic attempts to smear Lenin grew even more 
violent, and incitement to murder Bolsheviks took an even more 
threatening form. Lists containing the names of those who were to be 
killed were being circulated among the soldiers. 

The Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party issued a proclamation 
to the population of Petrograd, to all honest citizens completely refuting 
the slander against Lenin, and took steps to protect the great leader ot 
the working class. 


Early in the morning on July 5, Yakov Sverdlov came to Lenin's flat 
• Shirokaya Street with the news of the raid on the Pravda office and 
^aed Lenin to go into hiding at once. Taking off his overcoat and giving 
> 1 to Lenin as a partial disguise, Sverdlov took him to the flat of 
M Sulimova, a secretary to the Bolshevik Central Committee military 
organisation. But this flat was also liable to be searched. For greater 
safety Lenin and Krupskaya, on July 6, moved to a flat belonging to the 
worker V. Kayurov in the Vyborg District. From here they moved 
to the premises of the Vyborg District Party Committee. They were 

But now, though, forced to hide from the Provisional Government, just 
as he had from the tsarist authorities, Lenin went on with his Party 
work. On July 5, he wrote five articles exposing the slanderous allega- 
tions of the reactionary press and Alexinsky. The next day they were 
all printed in the Listok Pravdy (Pravda Newssheet). In the afternoon 
on July 6, he took part in a session of the Executive Commission of the 
Petrograd Committee of Bolsheviks, which was held in the watch office 
of the Russian Renault (now Red October) Works, and which discussed 
the question of a general strike. Lenin was firmly opposed to strike action 
and drafted an appeal to the workers of Petrograd calling 011 them not 
to be misled by the provocations of the counter-revolution and to resume 
work as from July 7. In the evening on July 6, Lenin went into consulta- 
tion with members of the Bolshevik Central Committee in the Vyborg 
District to discuss the situation. It was suggested to him that he should 
remain underground. 

Lenin spent the night of July 6 at the flat of the worker N. Poletayev, 
a former deputy of the Third Duma. On July 7, he took refuge with 
S. Alliluyev, a Bolshevik of long standing and a worker at the city power- 
station. "Of course, it was the workers who looked after people like 
me/' Lenin wrote later. Alliluyev recalls that Lenin was calm, wrote 
encouraging notes to his comrades, reassured and cheered those who 
had lost heart, and himself laughed heartily when he was told of the 
current gossip in Petrograd that the chief instigators of the uprising, 
secret agents of Kaiser Wilhelm, had escaped by destroyer or submarine 
to Germany. 

On July 7, the Provisional Government issued warrants for the arrest 
and indictment of Lenin and a number of other Bolsheviks. The Con- 
stitutional-Democrat and Menshevik newspapers demanded that Lenin 
should appear in court. Certain Bolsheviks, who did not fully understand 
the situation, also considered that Lenin should not remain in hiding, 
that he ought to appear in court. If he did not, they said, it would be 
°ad for the Party's prestige. 

Lenin discussed the matter with his wife and sister Maria at Alliluyev's 
flat on July 7. He was so indignant at the monstrous slander against him 
that he decided on the spur of the moment to appear in court and expose 
j£e slanderers. He even asked his comrades to inEorm the presidium of 
the Central Executive Committee of his decision. 


The same day a group of Party comrades visited him and the matter 
of Lenin's appearance in court was further discussed. In his reminis- 
cences published in Pravda on March 28, 1924, G. Orjonikidzc described 
the debate: "Nogin rather tentatively spoke in favour of Lenin's appear- 
ing and putting up a fight at a public trial. This opinion was shared 
by a considerable number of the Moscow comrades. Vladimir Ilyich 
with characteristic clear-headedness argued that there would be ii 
public trial. Stalin was firmly against any appearing before the author- 
ities. 'Thc-officer-cadets wouldn't take him to the prison, they'd kill him 
on the way/ he said. Ilyich also seemed to be against the idea, but 
hesitated because of what Nogin had said."* 

A decision was taken to send V. Nogin and G, Orjonikidze to the 
Taurida Palace to negotiate with Anisimov, a member of the Presidium 
of the Central Executive Committee and the Petrograd Soviet, about the 
conditions under which Lenin might be detained in prison. Arris , v 
would not agree to Lenin's detention in the Peter and Paul For ;s, 
where the garrison was pro-Bolshevik. The only possible place was a 
solitary-confinement prison known as "Kresty", where the officer-cadets 
were in charge. Orjonikidzc categorically demanded that Anisimov give 
him a full guarantee that Lenin's life would be in no danger in this 
prison. As Orjonikidzc later reported, Anisimov said that all necessary 
measures would, of course, be taken but that he "didn't know whose 
hands he himself would be in tomorrow". To this Orjonikidzc i\ Led 
indignantly: "We will not give up Ilyich to you." 

That evening there was a meeting at Alliluyev's flat attended by 
Nogin, Orjonikidzc, Stalin, Yelena Stasova, and others. When Orjoni- 
kidze and Nogin reported the results of their visit to Anisimov, every- 
one present felt indignant and extremely anxious and profoundly aware 
of his responsibility for Lenin's life. A decision was taken not to allow 
Lenin to appear in court and at the same time to find a safer hiding-place 
for him. This was the only correct decision, for there could be no fair 
trial in Russia at that time. The counter-revolutionary militarists were 
at work. If Lenin had fallen into their murderous clutches, he would 
have been killed on the spot. Only two days before, officer-cadets had 
brutally murdered the worker Voinov merely for distributing Bolshevik 
newspapers. What would have happened to Lenin if they had got hold 
of him can easily be imagined. 

Events proved that the members of the Central Committee 
perfectly right in the action they took to save Lenin's life. Every hour 
the situation in Petrograd was growing more critical. The Red Guard 
detachments were being disarmed, the revolutionary regiments of the 
Petrograd garrison were being dispatched forcibly to the front. The 
Bolshevik newspapers had been closed down. Arrests and searches were 
becoming more and more frequent. 

* Pravda No. 71. March 28. 1924. 


On the night of July 6 a detachment of officer-cadets was sent to the 
y elizaroV s' flat to arrest Lenin. He was not there so they searched his 
room and seized various papers. Two days later they came again. 
Although they were told Lenin was not at home, they searched every 
possible hiding-place-under the beds, in the cupboards, behind the 
curtains, and so on. They ordered hampers and chests to be opened and 
plunged their bayonets through the contents. After a fruitless search 
they retired, taking with them Krupskaya, M. Yclizarov, in whom one 
of the cadets thought he detected some resemblance to Lenin, and the 
maid. The same night, after the over-zealous detectives had received 
a dressing-down from their chief for bringing in the wrong man, the 
prisoners were released. 

It was becoming dangerous for Lenin to remain in Petrograd. The 
Party Central Committee decided to move Lenin to the Sestroretsk 
District and shelter him not far from Razliv Railway Station, at the house 
of Nikolai Yemelyanov, a worker at the Sestroretsk Factory and an old 
member of the Party. Razliv Station was near the Finnish frontier and, 
if necessary, Lenin could be taken off into the heart of Finland. 

On July 8, Lenin asked Alliluyev to obtain a map of the city to help 
him decide which would be the safest streets to use for reaching Pri- 
morsky Station in case he had to leave for Finland by way of Sestro- 
retsk. The map was obtained and Lenin studied it closely. On the evening 
of the 9th, he began preparing for the somewhat risky journey to Sestro- 
retsk. Having shaved his beard and clipped his moustache, he put on 
a brownish-red overcoat and a grey cap. In this garb he bore some 
resemblance to a Finnish peasant. At about 11 p.m., Lenin, accompanied 
by Stalin and Alliluyev, started off in the direction of Primorsky Station 
to catch the last train, which was usually occupied by a mixed crowd 
of late travellers. 

At the appointed spot Lenin and his companions were met by Nikolai 
Yemelyanov, whom the Central Committee had entrusted with the task 
of hiding Lenin. Yemelyanov had bought tickets in advance and for 
safety's sake took Lenin to the train by way of some stationary trucks 
standing in a siding. Lenin mounted the steps of the carriage. His com- 
rades gave him farewell glances and soon the train moved off. Lenin 
packed Razliv Station without mishap and a few minutes later was in 
Yemelyanov's cottage. 

Lenin at Razliv. The Sixth Party Congress. Lenin was temporarily 
accommodated in the loft of a barn, which had been used for storing hay. 
f- bed was made in the hay and a table and two chairs were provided 
or work. Since the Yemelyanovs' yard and garden were well screened 
y trees and lilac bushes, Lenin was sometimes able to go outside for 

M °f fresh air, though he still had to be careful. 
^Meanwhile the hazards in Sestroretsk and Razliv were increasing. 
oftf CtiVeS WG1C combin 3 tnc ar ea for Lenin. The summer residents, most 

tnem petty-bourgeois folk, were chattering maliciously about "Lenin's 

escape", and it was dangerous for him to remain at the Ycmelyanovs. 
To provide Lenin with a more secure hiding-place Yemelyanov rented 
a mowing plot on the shore of Lake Razliv, rive or six kilometres from 
the station, in a marshy, wooded locality. 

Lenin and Zinoviev, who had come with him, were rowed across the 
lake, and pretending to be Finnish mowers, they took up their quarters 
in a kind of tent built of branches and thatched with hay. The tent was 
next to a hayrick, in which a nest had been made to serve as a "bed- 
room" on cold nights. In a dense thicket near the tent a small space 
was later cleared for Lenin to work in. Lenin used to refer to this 
jokingly as "my green study". In this nook there were two logs, one to 
serve as a desk, the other as a stool. Not far away was the "kitchen"- 
a pot hanging from a crossbar supported by two forked branches. Food 
and newspapers were brought across the lake by Yemelyanov's wife and 
sons. He demanded a huge number of newspapers-every paper, in fact, 
that was then published in Petrograd. In order not to arouse suspicion 
by such large purchases of newspapers Yemelyanov's sons arranged 
among themselves what papers each should buy. They also maintained 
a watch. A. Tokareva, a Petrograd working woman, kept him supplied 
with food and clean linen. 

The Provisional Government's detectives were scouring the country 
for Lenin. There was a big price on his head. Holiday-makers sometimes 
came across the lake to gather mushrooms in the marshes and Lenin had 
more than once to transform himself quickly into a typical Finnish 
mower. But while keeping strictly to the security arrangements, Lenin 
managed to go for walks, enjoy the sunshine, go swimming in the lake 
late in the evening, and sometimes do a little fishing. 

Today the tent on the shore of Lake Razliv is preserved just as it was 
in 1917. Close by stands a granite memorial with an inscription carved 
upon it: "Here in July and August 1917, in a tent made of branches, the 
leader of the October Revolution hid from pursuit by the bourgeoisie 
and wrote his book The State and Revolution, In memory of this we 
have built here a tent of granite. Workers of the city of Lenin.* 1927." 

Lenin worked hard, reading and writing, although neither living nor 
working conditions were easy. From his hiding-place Lenin continued to 
direct Party activities. All this time the Party heard the confident voice 
of its leader and felt his wise, cautious and yet firm guidance. At Razliv 
Lenin wrote his theses entitled "The Political Situation", the booklet 
On Slogans, and the articles "Constitutional Illusions" and "Lessors o£ 
the Revolution". In these writings Lenin gave a profound analysis of the 
changes in the political situation following the July events and outlined 
the tactics the Party should adopt in the new conditions. 

The July events, Lenin wrote, were a turning-point in the development 
of the revolution. Dual power was a thing of the past. The counter- 
revolutionary bourgeoisie had organised and consolidated its ranks, and 

* In 1924, Petrograd was renamed Leningrad (city o£ Lenin). 


. i n effect, seized all power in the state. It had placed that power in 
The hands of a gang of militarists. The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolu- 
tionaries had completely betrayed the cause of the revolution and deserted 
to the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie. Under their leadership the 
Soviets had in practice handed over power to the military clique and 
become a helpless appendage of the bourgeois Provisional Government. 
All hope of peaceful development of the revolution, Lenin pointed out, 
had disappeared. 

The Bolsheviks were not to blame, he said, because the peaceful course 
of the revolution had been thwarted during the July days. The blame 
for this lay upon the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, who had 
sealed their policy of agreement with the bourgeoisie by going over 
completely to the camp of the counter-revolution. The revolution had 
entered upon a non-peaceful and extremely painful course. The power 
of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie could now be overthrown only 
by force. Lenin called upon the Bolsheviks to act as they had done under 
tsarism in 1912-14, combining illegal forms of struggle with legal forms 
and marshalling their forces for an armed uprising. 

The radical change in the internal political situation demanded that 
the Party change its tactical slogans. In his article "The Political Situa- 
tion" and the pamphlet On Slogans Lenin proved the necessity of tempo- 
rarily withdrawing the slogan "All power to the Soviets!" This slogan 
had been correct during the period of peaceful development of the 
revolution (up to July 4), when state power was in the balance and was 
shared, by voluntary agreement, between the Provisional Government 
and the Soviets, Now the slogan was no longer correct because the 
present Soviets, being dominated by the Socialist-Revolutionary and 
Menshcvik parties, had failed. To call for the transfer of state power to 
these Soviets would in fact amount to deception of the people; it would 
sound like an act of Quixotry or sheer mockery. 

At the same time Lenin explained that the temporary withdrawal of 
the slogan "All power to the Soviets!" did not mean that the Bolshevik 
Party had given up the idea of a Soviet Republic as a new type of state. 
He was convinced that with a fresh upsurge of the Russian revolution 
Soviets possessing full power would appear, but not the present kind 
of Soviets dominated by Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, not 
organs of compromise with the bourgeoisie, but Soviets as organs of 
revolutionary struggle against it. With the victory of the socialist 
revolution the Bolsheviks would build the whole state on the model 
°f the Soviets. 

Though forced to remain in hiding, Lenin maintained close contact 
With the Party's Central Committee through G. Orjonikidzc, V. Zofa, 
**■ Shotman and E. Rahja, who had been specially assigned to this task- 
-•■hey made their journeys with great care so as not to give away Lenin's 
thereabouts to anyone who might be shadowing them. 

Lenin would question his comrades at great length about what was 
opening in the city in his absence, about the mood of the workers and 


soldiers, and what was being done in the Bolshevik organisation, the 
Petrograd Soviets, and so on. 

Lenin saw clearly that the socialist revolution would triumph, that the 
day was not far off when the workers' power would be established in 
the country, and this profound conviction spread to the Party and lent 
it wings at a time of great difficulty. Orjonikidze recalls: "We had just 
been given a thorough beating, yet there he was prophesying a victorious 
uprising within a month or two." According to Orjonikidze, when L. p 
was told that a certain Bolshevik had said that power might indeed s ion 
pass to the proletariat and that Lenin would be the head of the govern- 
ment, Lenin had remarked in all seriousness: "Yes, that is what will 

Lenin's The Political Situation, On Slogans, Lessons of the Revolution 
and other writings formed the basis of the decisions of the Sixth Congress 
of the Bolshevik Party, which met in Petrograd between July 26 and 
August 3, 1917. The Congress unanimously elected Lenin its honorary 
chairman. Lenin directed the work of this historic Congress from hi s 
hiding-place and took part in working out and drafting its most 
important resolutions. His booklet On Slogans was circulated among the 

One of the first questions to be discussed was whether Lenin should 
appear in court. Ten delegates took part in the debate. In Orjqnikidze's 
report on the matter and in all the speeches there was a sense of anxiety 
and great responsibility for Lenin's safety. The speakers approved Lenin's 
action in refusing to appear for trial by rabid counter-revolutionaries. 
"On no account should we give up Comrade Lenin/' Orjonikidze slated. 
The persecution of Lenin, Dzerzhinsky said, was persecution directed 
against the Party, against revolutionary democracy. The Bolsheviks- nust 
state quite firmly that they would not give up Lenin. Skrypnik, one of 
the delegates, maintained that it should be stated in a Congress resolu- 
tion that the Congress approved the conduct of its leaders, protested 
at the slandering of the Bolshevik Party and its leaders, and would not 
allow them "to be subjected to class-prejudiced trial by a gang of counter- 
revolutionaries". Some of the delegates (Stalin, Volodarsky, Lash rich 
Manuilsky and others), though opposing Lenin's appearance in court 
under the circumstances then obtaining, considered it as a pos> 
provided the trial was "honest", "just", and guaranteed Lenin's personal 
safety, or provided there was an "objective" jury with representatives 
of the revolutionary parties taking part in the investigation. "At the 
present moment," said Stalin, "it is still not clear who holds power. 
There is no guarantee that if they are arrested they will not be subj'( cted 
to crude violence. It would be a different matter if the trial was orga i'sed 
democratically and a guarantee was given that they would not be torn 

to pieces While the position is still unclear, while there is still an 

undercover struggle going on between the official government and those 
who actually hold power, there is no point in the comrades' appeal 
before the authorities. On the other hand, if a government that can 


arantee our comrades protection from violence, and that has some 
^ jnb'lance of honour comes to power . . . they will appear."* 
^This presentation of the question was ambivalent because it was 
based on an incorrect appreciation of the internal situation and 
reflected the constitutional illusions that were shared by some of 
the Bolsheviks. 

The unanimous resolution of the Sixth Congress stated that at a time 
when the counter-revolutionary forces were brazenly interfering in legal 
proceedings "there are absolutely no guarantees not only of impartial 
legal procedure but even of elementary safety for those who are brought 
to trial". The Congress issued a firm protest against the outrageous per- 
secution of the leaders of the revolutionary proletariat by prosecutors, 
spies and police, sent its ardent greetings to Lenin and expressed the 
hope of seeing him once again with the party of the revolutionary 

The Congress approved Lenin's proposal for the temporary withdrawal 
of the slogan "All power to the Soviets!" and called on the party to fight 
for the complete abolition of the dictatorship of the counter-revolutionary 
bourgeoisie and for the seizure of state power by the proletariat and 
the poorest peasantry by means of an armed uprising. In complete 
accordance with the Leninist doctrine the Congress stressed that the 
alliance of the working class and the peasantry was an important con- 
dition for the victory of the socialist revolution. These revolutionary 
classes, the Congress resolution "On the Political Situation" stated, take 
state power "in order to direct it, in alliance with the revolutionary 
proletariat of the advanced countries, towards peace and the socialist 
transformation of society". 

The Congress firmly rebuffed N. Angarsky, Y, Prcobrazhcnsky and 
K. Yurenev, whose speeches expressed disbelief in the victory of the 
socialist revolution in Russia. The Congress also criticised and rejected 
the anti-Leninist scheme of the development of the revolution in Russia 
put forward by Bukharin and based on rejection of the alliance between 
the working class and the poorest peasants. The Congress upheld 
Lenin's theory of the socialist revolution and Lenin's proposition on the 
possibility of the victory of socialism in one country, Russia. 

Besides the resolution "On the Political Situation" the Congress passed 
|Jie following resolutions: "On the Economic Situation", "The Election 
Campaign in the Constituent Assembly", "The Tasks of the Trade Union 
Movement", "On Youth Leagues", "On Propaganda", etc. It also passed 
the Party Rules. 

By a secret ballot the Sixth Congress of the R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks) 
elected a Central Committee headed by Lenin, with twice the original 
number of members. The Congress nominated Lenin as the Bolshevik 
Arty's first candidate for the Constituent Assembly. 

M^c* Six - h Con 9 ress of the R.S.D.L.P. (Bolsheviks). August 1917. Minutes, Russ. ed., 
Moscow, 1958. pp. 27-28. 


All Congress decisions were aimed at preparing the working class 
and the poorest peasants for an armed uprising, for the victory of the 
socialist revolution. This is what gives it its main significance for the 
history of the Party and the revolution. 

On the instructions of the Congress the Central Committee issu d 
a manifesto "To All Working People, to All Workers, Soldiers, and 
Peasants of Russia", which expressed the unshakable conviction that the 
imminent clash between the socialist proletariat and the imperialist 
bourgeoisie would bring victory to the forces of socialism, "Our Party 
is entering this struggle with banners unfurled. It has kept a firm grin 
on them. It has never lowered them to the oppressors and the dirty 
slanderers, to the betrayers of the revolution and the servants of ca 
It will continue to hold them high, fighting for socialism, for the broil :r- 
hood of the peoples. Because it knows that the new movement is in the 
ascendant and the mortal hour of the old world is near." 

As soon as the Congress was over the Central Committee sent out 
Lenin's pamphlet On Slogans to four hundred Party organisations. The 
Congress decisions were also soon published. 

Lenin goes to Helsingfors. When the hay-making season was over 
Lenin found it difficult to keep up the pretence of being a mower. Hurilcrs 
were beginning to appear in the area and there were rumours in the town 
that Lenin was masquerading as a fitter at the Scstroretsk Factory, 
Kercnsky's detectives were again combing the districts around PeLro- 
grad. Dogs were being used. Hundreds of volunteer detectives from 
bourgeois circles came forward. One newspaper announcement stated 
that 50 officers of a shock battalion had sworn to catch Lenin or die in 
the attempt. 

A new and safer refuge had to be found. The Central Committee 
passed a decision to arrange with the Finnish Bolsheviks for Lenin's 
removal to Finland. Orjonikidze discussed the matter with a delegate of 
the Sixth Party Congress A. Shotman, who together with the Finnish 
worker Eino Rahja, a Bolshevik, immediately set about making the 
necessary arrangements. N. Yemelyanov obtained an identity card and 
a pass made out in the name of the Scstroretsk worker Konst itin 
Petrovich Ivanov. Lenin was photographed in make-up and a wig. The 
photograph was stuck in the card which had the actual stamp of the 
Scstroretsk Militia Committee. 

After investigating all the possible ways of getting into Finland, the 
comrades suggested to Lenin that he should make the journey on the 
foot-plate of a locomotive, as a fireman. When he agreed, they arra -je^ 
with Hugo Jalava, an engine-driver they knew well, to get him taken 
across the frontier. 

Late in the evening of August 8, Lenin left his tent. Ahead of him lay 
a walk of some ten kilometres to the next station on the Finnish line- 
He was accompanied by some of his comrades. On the way they strayed 
off the path and came to a river, which they had to ford. They made 
their way on through a forest, parts of which were on fire. The going 


dangerous because peat was burning underfoot and there was the 
of floundering into a swamp. Nevertheless they had to avoid the 
? S jhis, too, was dangerous, because the frontier was near and there 
vras'a grave risk of running into officer-cadets. Eventually, hungry and 
tterly exhausted, they came out in the middle of the night at Dibuny 
cfation, which was guarded by a party of cadets. Lenin managed to 
hide in the bushes at the bottom of the embankment. Yemelyanov went 
out to reconnoitre and buy tickets, and was immediately stopped by 
the cadets. When a train came in, Lenin and Rahja slipped quickly into 
ne of the end carriages and travelled safely as far as the station of 
Udelnaya, where Lenin spent the night at the flat of a Finnish worker, 
E. G. Kalske. 

The next day, accompanied by Rahja and Shotman, he went back 
to the station. Before getting into the train, Lenin handed Shotman a 
blue-covered notebook and asked him to look after it well. In a note to 
Kamenev, written soon after he went into hiding and discovered by the 
officer-cadets when they searched the Yelizarov flat, Lenin had said: 
"...if they do away with me, please publish my notebook Marxism on 
the State." Lenin attached great importance to his blue-covered note- 
book, in which he had brought together and analysed the ideas of Marx 
and Engels on the state and formulated a number of highly important 
propositions about the destruction of the bourgeois state machine during 
the socialist revolution, about the dictatorship of the proletariat, and 
about proletarian democracy, socialism and communism. Lenin's work 
exposed the views of the opportunists of the Second International and 
the anarchists on the socialist revolution and the state. It has since 
become widely known under the title of Marxism on the State. 

Engine-driver Hugo Jalava took Lenin aboard his engine as a fireman 
and Lenin worked hard throwing logs into the fire-box. The going was 
good as far as the frontier station of Bcloostrov, but at the frontier the 
guards began checking the passengers' documents. The train crew's 
documents might also be checked, but the experienced Jalava knew how 
to deal with the situation. Pretending the engine needed a filling-up, he 
uncoupled it and drove it off to the pumps and did not return until the 
station bell had rung three times. He then quickly recoupled the engine, 
gave a sharp blast on the whistle and put on steam. 

In a few minutes Lenin was in Tcrijoki and had recovered his notebook 
torn Shotman. Soon afterwards he arrived in the village of Jalkala, 
about twelve kilometres from Terijoki. Here he put up at the house of 

* Finnish worker, P. Parviainen, that stood aside from the village on 
e edge of the woods. According to Eino Rahja's reminiscences, Lenin 
a not live in the cottage itself but in one of the outhouses. "For some 

to r n Vladimir Hyich took a fancy to the piace aim saici ne wanted 
eve V t- tllere ' We scrubbed tllc floor ' P ut in a table ' a bed, a lamp. 
Wo V ■ he nccdcd - and he was ablc to wor k thcre - He couldn't have 
r *ed in the cottage because the children would have disturbed him. 


I think that was the reason he was prepared to live even in a chicken 
shed. He just had to be able to work."* 

In Jalkala, Lenin worked hard, writing and reading, and in his spare 
time helped the master of the house with the ploughing and mowing 
went to the forest to gather mushrooms and bilberries, bathed in Kafi 
Lake, and went rowing and fishing. His friends were Parviainen's little 
children, for whom he showed great affection. Lenin always enjoyed 
being with children. 

Jalkala provided only a brief refuge for Lenin. With the Ru- 
fronticr so close, it was dangerous to stay longer. Lenin lived there while 
a suitable lodging in Helsingfors was being found for him. It was not 
long before two Finns arrived from Helsingfors to take Lenin deeper 
into Finland. They were young workers, members of a Helsingfors 
amateur dramatics society. They made Lenin up as a Finnish pastor. 
With them Lenin took the train from Tcrijoki, to the little tow < of 
Lahti, 130 km from Helsingfors, and put up at a flat belonging tq a 
Finnish worker. Lenin made another day's stop at the station of JVLJmi 
(a suburb of Helsingfors), at the country-house of a deputy of the 
Finnish Diet Viik. With his assistance Lenin set about getting in iouch 
by post with the Bureau Abroad of the Bolshevik Central Committee 
in Sweden. 

In Helsingfors, Lenin lodged with a Finnish Social-Democrat Kustaa 
Rovio, who was at the time acting chief of the Helsingfors police. Nothing 
could have been better for Lenin from the point of view of Sec eey 
and protection. Rovio's flat consisted of one room and a kitchen and it 
was vacant because Rovio's wife was in the country at the time. While 
he was in Helsingfors Lenin also lived at the flats of the Finnish workers 
Uscnius and Blomqvist. Rovio kept Lenin in touch with Petrograd 
through engine-driver Jalava, who lived in the Vyborg District, not far 
from the flat where Krupskaya was in hiding. 

"We made a working arrangement," Rovio recalls. "In the evi :ings 
I would wait for the mail train at the station, buy all the newspaper and 
take them to Lenin. He would read them through immediately and write 
articles till late at night and on the next day give them to me to dispatch 
to Petrograd. During the day he prepared his own food."** 

Very few Bolsheviks knew Lenin's whereabouts. But his article : ap- 
pearing in the newspapers Proletary and Rabochy {Worker), which the 
Bolsheviks were bringing out to replace the banned Pravda, were read 
by the whole Party in the joyful knowledge that its leader was at his 
post and safe from danger. 

When on August 20, the day of the elections to the Petrograd City 
Duma, the bourgeois press again carried slanderous allegations against 
Lenin, he published a very important and instructive article in Ptoleio^* 
entitled "Political Blackmail". In this article he pointed out that one 

Krasnaya Lelopis No. 1 (58), 1934, p. 84. 

Lenin in October, Reminiscences, Russ. cd., Moscow, 1957. p. 264. 


understand the tricks used by the imperialist bourgeoisie in per- 
111115 hincr the revolutionary parlies and their leaders in order to prevent 
S u Cl carrying on their political work. The political enemies of the 
voiutionary proletarian party could not operate without blackmail, 
U> s and slander. They were too base. 
The frenzied hatred of the bourgeoisie, Lenin wrote, was the best 
•oof that slandered and persecuted revolutionaries were performing 
h-ue and honest service to the proletariat. Bolsheviks who had been 
oughly handled by the political blackmailers, wrote Lenin, could 
apply lo themselves the fine words of the Russian poet Nikolai Nekrasov. 
They were words that Lenin often recalled later: 

We hear the voice oi approbation 
Not in the dulcet sounds of praise 
But in savage cries of irritation* 

A revolutionary who had been slandered by the bourgeoisie, Lenin 
taught, must counter the blackmailers with the trust of his own Marxist 
party and not retire from public life, till the case was "heard" by a 
bourgeois court. We must rely on the judgement of the proletarians, 
the judgement of our own proletarian party, he urged. 

In his article Lenin wrote with great pride and gratitude of the Bol- 
shevik Party: "We believe in it, we see in it the intelligence, the honour 
and the conscience of our era." Lenin's inspiring words contain the 
highest appreciation of the historic services rendered by the Communist 
Party to the Russian and international working-class movement, of its 
Marxist theoretical maturity, its selfless dedication to the cause of the 
socialist revolution and its splendid moral qualities as collective political 
leader of the working people. 

On the eve of his departure from Helsingfors, Lenin had a conversa- 
tion with O. Kuusinen, a member of the Central Committee of the 
Social-Democratic Party of Finland. Lenin advised the Left-wing Finnish 
Social-Democrats to press in the Diet that Finland break off relations 
with the Provisional Government of Russia, Do not allow Kerensky 
and the Mcnsheviks, he said, to sow doubts in your ranks as to whether 
a consistent struggle against any intervention by the Provisional Gov- 
ernment in Finnish affairs is correct revolutionary policy. You were right 
tc > defy Kerensky's order and refuse to recognise the legality of the 
dissolution of the Diet. Our Bolshevik Party stands for recognition of 
Finland's independence, said Lenin, and this will be easy to reach agree- 
ment on when power passes into the hands of the revolutionary working 
cl ass in Russia, 

Regarding the prospects of socialism, Lenin pointed out that since 
inland had no natural stocks of coal and iron it would evidently not 
j e able to build socialism alone, but that in close co-operation with the 
^mre Soviet Russia it would undoubtedly be possible for Finland to 

From Nckrasov's poem "Blessed Is the Gentle Poet". 


Towards the end of the conversation Lenin mentioned that he would 
be returning the next day to Petrograd. When O. Kuusinen, realisinq 
that the trip might be dangerous, asked whether it could not be post- 
poned, Lenin replied resolutely: "No, we can't wait any longer; fa* 
situation is now ripening at tremendous speed for the decisive clash 
in the struggle for Soviet power." He then referred to the report in the 
Russian newspapers he had just received concerning the debate at a 
session of the Petrograd Soviet, during which Dubasov, an officer who 
had recently returned from the front, had declared that he was not a 
Bolshevik, but, knowing the true state of affairs at the front, he could 
say with certainty that the army was unable to fight and would not fight 
Lenin regarded this statement by a non-Party officer as a signal that the 
revolutionary situation in Russia was rapidly reaching crisis point. 

Nadczhda Krupskaya visited Lenin twice in Hclsingfors, using the 
identity card of a Scstrorctsk working woman Agafya Atamanova. "ilyich 
was ever so glad to see me," she recalls. "Obviously, he had been feeling 
desperately lonely, living there underground at a time when it was so 
important for him to be in the centre of preparations for the struggle. 
I told him all the news, and stayed in Hclsingfors for two days."* 

While he was in Finland, Lenin worked hard on the theoretical prob- 
lems of Marxism. In this period he wrote his outstanding works The 
State and Revolution and The Impending Catastrophe and How to 
Combat It, and Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Poivez?, in which he 
developed the Marxist teaching on the state and the dictatorship of the 
proletariat, formulated the fundamental principles of the internal and 
foreign policy to be adopted by the proletarian government and oui lined 
the first steps and immediate measures it should take. 

"The State and Revolution". In his book. The State and Revolution, 
written between August and September 1917, Lenin for the firsl time 
comprehensively and systematically expounded Marx's teaching on the 
state, which had been distorted by Kautsky and other opportunists. It 
was extremely important to examine and interpret this teaching correctly 
because with the socialist revolution maturing in Russia the question of 
the role of the state had become an urgent theoretical and practical 

Bourgeois ideologists, echoed by opportunists in the socialist parties, 
put forward numerous theories of the state intended to justify the rule 
of the exploiting classes and to gloss over the real class nature or the 
bourgeois state. In their opinion, the bourgeois stale was an institution 
above classes, whose function was to reconcile the interests of the various 
classes of society. Lenin rejected this and insisted that it was Marxist 
doctrine that had for the first time provided a genuinely scientific 
explanation of the origin of the state and revealed its true nature. 

The state in the proper sense of the term, so Marxism teaches, is 3 
machine for the suppression of one class by another. Like other insW 
ments for e nsuring the exploiting classes' domination over the people 

* N. K. Krupskaya, Retniniscences oi Lenin, Moscow, 1959, pp. 371-72. 


state came into being when private ownership appeared and society 
lit up into antagonistic classes. Not only in slave-owning and feudal 
S ^cieties, but also in capitalist society is the state an instrument for 
S ° Dressing the working people, who form the overwhelming majority 
f the population. In the epoch of imperialism, Lenin wrote, the bour- 
state machine, the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie", is greatly 
ntensified; there is an unprecedented increase in its bureaucratic and 
military apparatus, which is directed against the revolutionary prole- 
tariat, the national liberation movement of the oppressed peoples, and 
so on. All former revolutions, said Lenin, expounding the fundamentals 
of Marxist doctrine on the state, improved the bourgeois state machine. 
All kinds of bourgeois states arose, but they were all essentially the same. 
They were all dictatorships of the bourgeoisie. The proletarian revolution 
must smash this dictatorship, destroy and replace it with a proletarian 
state machine-the dictatorship of the proletariat. 

"The proletariat," Lenin wrote, "needs state power, a centralised 
organisation of force, an organisation of violence, both to crush the 
resistance of the exploiters and to lead the enormous mass of the popula- 
tion-the peasants, the petty bourgeoisie, the scmi-proletarians-in the 
work of organising socialist economy."* The essence of Marxism is the 
doctrine of the dictatorship of the proletariat. "Only he is a Marxist 
who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of 
the dictatorship of the proletariat."** 

In The State and Revolution Lenin gave a comprehensive substantiation 
of the vital Marxist proposition on the law-governed nature and inevi- 
tability of the socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the working 
class and revealed its essence. He stressed the great organisational 
function of the proletarian state in the building of socialist society. The 
dictatorship of the proletariat, Lenin emphasised, is the state only of 
the transitional period between capitalism and socialism, and it differs 
radically from the state of the exploiters, whose main and determining 
function is coercion and suppression. The essence of the dictatorship 
of the proletariat is not the coercion which the masses apply to the 
exploiters, but their creative activity. The dictatorship of the proletariat 
expresses the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population 
and sets as its aim the abolition of all exploitation of man by man, the 
building of socialist society. Lenin speaks with exceptional clarity and 
Persuasion, in this work, of proletarian democracy as the highest type 
«t democracy, contrasting it with formal, limited, hypocritical bourgeois 

„ ^9ain and again Lenin draws Marxists' attention to the fact that 
tne transition from capitalism to communism is certainly bound to 
yield a tremendous abundance and variety of political forms, but the 
!^nce will inevitably be the same: the 

_ V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 25, v. 404. 
V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 25, p. 413. 


$mytme% f ? ~--j c %^-c-=#r ^.^prrgkejzs, /w^iyr &**<*K ^"^m^, 

i^rifcj J^Ji^pc*. *^*-^fi~p J* JiM^ffffr. c >~y. J ±SfLc* « 

ij, 1 ^ . . a . 

First page from Lenin's manuscript Ti?e Siflte Revolution 

Lenin showed the decisive role of the Communist Party not only i'- 1 
winning but in consolidating the dictatorship of the proletariat, in the 
building o£ socialism and communism. The party of the proletariat is 
the organising and directing force in the system of the dictatorship °* 
the proletariat. "By educating the workers' party, Marxism educates the 
vanguard of the proletariat, capable of assuming power and leading 
the whole people to socialism, of directing and organising the netf 
system, of being the teacher, the guide, the leader of all the workinS 
and exploited people in organising their social life without the I 
geoisic and against the bourgeoisie."* This formula of Lenin's brilli antly 

* JbiVi., p. 404. 

Lenin disguised 
PAofo, Aug«s£ 1917 

fines the tasks of the Communist Party, its great goal and its 

•ocrramnie for a whole historical period. 
^Lenin's doctrine, as expounded in The State and Revolution, on social- 
• m and communism, on the two basic phases through which communist 
^ciety passes in its development, on the conditions under which the 
state withers away, is a great contribution to Marxist theory. He showed 
that socialism and communism inevitably replace capitalism and develop 
on the same type of economic basis-social ownership of the means of 
production, which excludes exploitation o£ man by man. The difference 
between socialism and communism is determined by the degree of their 
economic, political and cultural maturity. Socialism is the first, the 
lower phase of communism. The level of development of social produc- 
tion at this stage is such that society can put into effect, as yet, only 
the principle: "From each according to his ability, to each according to 
his work/' At this stage of development society still bears the traces, 
the birthmarks of the old society from which it emerged. 

Since people have different qualifications, unequal talents and working 
capacity, and different family backgrounds, it is natural that, given 
equal pay for equal work, their incomes are in fact unequal. But this is 
inevitable in the first phase of communist society; society cannot leap 
straight from capitalism to communism without passing through the 
socialist stage of development. "From capitalism," said Lenin, "mankind 
can pass directly only to socialism, i.e., to the social ownership of the 
means of production and the distribution of products according to the 
amount of work performed by each individual."* Accounting and control 
by society and the state of the measure of labour and the measure of 
consumption are therefore of the greatest importance under socialism. 

Under communism, i.e., in the higher phase of communist society, 
which develops through the consolidation of socialism, the basic prin- 
ciple is: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his 
needs." This is possible, Lenin pointed out, only in the higher stage 
of development of society, when the essential differences between mental 
and physical work have been overcome, when work becomes man's 
primary need and when, on the basis of an enormous increase in the 
productive forces and the all-round development of the individual, 
material and spiritual wealth flows in a broad stream and there is 
abundance in society. 

In The State and Revolution Lenin went deep into the question of the 
economic basis of the withering away of the state. The withering away 
°J the state depends on the rapidity of development of the higher phase 
°* communism; he emphasised that this was bound to be a long and 
9 f adual process. The state would be able to wither away completely 

hen people had become accustomed to observing the fundamental 
uies of the community and when their labour was so productive that 
ne y would voluntarily work according to their abilities. The state would 

* V. I. i,cnin ( Collected Works, Vol, 24, pp. 84-85. 

finally wither away, Lenin explained, only when there was complete 

Lenin formulated the profound idea that "politically, the distinction 
between the first, or lower, and the higher phase of communism v Q] 
in time, probably, be tremendous".* He considered the further deve! - > 
ment, the perfection of socialist democracy to be the political p 
requisite for the withering away of the state. He attached tremendous 
importance to extensive realisation of the principles that all posts 
connected with state or social administration should be rilled by election, 
that all administrative personnel should be replaceable, and that con: q] 
and supervision should be exercised by all working people. 

"The State and Revolution" was a great contribution to the theoretical 
knowledge of the Bolshevik Party. The brilliant ideas which Ll n 
developed in this work guided our Party in achieving victory in the 
October Revolution, in building socialism; they guide the Party today in 
tackling the great tasks of the full-scale building of communist society. 

Salvation from the impending catastrophe lies in socialism. By he 
autumn of 1917, in the fourth year of the imperialist war, the economic 
position of Russia had taken a sharp turn for the worse. Railway trans- 
port was disorganised. The flow of raw materials, coal and metal to 
the factories dwindled inexorably. Output of metal and coal dropped 
steeply every month, there was a catastrophic fall in the production of 
consumer goods. The disorganisation of the economy was leading ir ra- 
tably to famine. The tsarist autocracy and the bourgeoisie, wrote Lenin, 
had brought the country to the brink of disaster. 

Far from taking any measures to avert the impending economic 
disaster, the bourgeoisie deliberately aggravated the situation. They 
counted on being able to throw all the blame for the catastrophic ite 
of affairs on the revolution and hoped that economic disaster would 
lead to the destruction of the Soviets. and strengthen the power ol the 
bourgeoisie and the landowners. This programme was formulated ;ith 
cynical frankness and insolence by the millionaire Ryabushinsky, who 
said "the gaunt hand of famine" would seize the revolution by the throat 
and throttle it. The capitalists deliberately sabotaged production and 
adopted a policy of closing down factories and throwing worker-, out 
into the streets. Mass unemployment increased, the prices of b ead 
soared. Many provinces in the central part of Russia were gripped by 
famine. In Petrograd and Moscow the bread ration in September 191? 
was cut to 200 grams per day, and stocks of flour were sufficient only 
for ten days. Tens of millions of people were in danger of starvation in 
both town and country. An army of ten millions was enduring terrible 
privations in the trenches. There was no end to the sufferings of the 

The Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik ministers in the go\ ercj 
ment supported by their parties, "helped" matters by making more arid 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 25, p. 470. 


. e concessions to the commercial and industrial bourgeoisie,- they 
^re afraid to encroach on the profits and property of the landowners, 
^oitalists, bankers, and merchants who were to blame for the internal 

onomic chaos and starvation and the defeat of the armies at the front. 
G On the extreme Right wing of the Mensheviks stood Plekhanov. He 

s taking an active part in the so-called Assembly of State, which had 
been formed in August 1917 by merchants, industrialists, landowners, 
bankers, former members of the tsarist Duma, and the bourgeoisie's 
docile Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, to cover the counter- 
revolutionary coup that was being prepared by Kornilov. At this Assem- 
bly plekhanov made a speech that was a disgrace to a Marxist; he called 
for abandonment of the revolution and the class struggle and for an 
"agreement" with Ryabushinsky and other counter-revolutionary bosses 
of the "merchant-industrialist class". 

"Russia is now undergoing a capitalist revolution," Plekhanov stated 
in defiance of the facts, "and when a country is undergoing a capitalist 
revolution, the seizure of power, of complete political power by the 
working class is utterly inappropriate."* Further Plekhanov declared: 
"And if the proletariat does not wish to injure its own interests, and 
the bourgeoisie does not want to injure its own interests, both classes 
should bona Me seek ways of economic and political agreement."** 

Plekhanov, who in the past had done much to spread Marxism in 
Russia, failed to apply the teachings of Marxism to the revolutionary 
situation of 1917, the greatest revolutionary situation in history. Con- 
fronted by the titanic tasks of the socialist revolution, he turned out 
to be a pitiful political bankrupt. And the revolution tossed him out of 
its path. 

Only Lenin and the Bolsheviks were able to arrive at a correct assess- 
ment of the historical situation and transform the theory of Marxism 
into living revolutionary action. 

On the day of the opening of the Assembly of State, the Moscow pro- 
letariat in response to a call from the Bolshevik Party declared a 
24-hour strike of protest, in which over 400,000 people took part. This 
strike dealt a powerful blow at the plans of the counter-revolutionary 
bourgeoisie. But the danger of conspiracy against the revolution 
continued to grow. 

At this anxious and difficult time the Bolshevik Party elaborated, 
and offered to the people, effective measures for combating the im- 
pending catastrophe, and acted as the Party of true patriots of Russia, 
J^nin gave the Party a programme for preventing disaster and renovating 
ttle country economically in his pamphlet The Impending Catastrophe 
and How to Combat It, which he wrote in Helsingfors in the middle 
of September 1917. Control, supervision, accounting and regulation of 
Production and consumption by the state, these were the first essentials 

* Assembly ol State, Russ. ed., Moscow-Leningrad, 1930, p. 236. 
toid.. p. 237. 



in the fight against ruin and famine. All the belligerent imperialist 
countries had long ago adopted extensive controls. But these controls 
were everywhere exercised in a reactionary and bureaucratic fashion. 

To this type of control Lenin counterposed control by the workers 
over production and distribution. As priority measures to combat J 
impending catastrophe he proposed; nationalisation of the banks 
insurance companies and enterprises belonging to the Capitalist 
monopolies; nationalisation of the land; abolition of commercial 
secrecy; compulsory amalgamation of separate capitalist enterprises 
into syndicates; organisation of the population into consumers' sock ie s 
to achieve an equal sharing of the burdens of the war and also cor ; 
by the poor over consumption by the rich. 

These measures, aimed at curbing the imperialists and saving the 
revolution, would evoke a great political and spiritual upsurge among 
the people, enormously increase the country's power to defend i 
and save it from subjugation by the Western imperialists. At the same 
time, Lenin added, these measures, if they were carried out a 
revolutionary and democratic manner, would speed the coun. fs 
advance. "It is impossible in twentieth-century Russia, which has won 
a republic and democracy in a revolutionary way, to go forward wit! 5ut 
advancing towards socialism, without taking steps towards it."* 

Lenin pointed out that owing to the profound crisis in the life of 
the peoples caused by the imperialist war, mankind was confronted with 
the following alternative: either it must perish or it must entrusL its 
fate to the working class with the aim of achieving a swift transition 
to a higher, socialist mode of production. And on this basis he formulated 
his famous proposition: 

"The revolution has resulted in Russia catching up with the adv, ;ed 
countries in a few months, as far as her political system is Concerned. 

"But that is not enough. The war is inexorable; it puts the alternative 
with ruthless severity: either perish or overtake and outstrip the 
advanced countries economically as ivell."** 

In the pamphlet The Impending Catastrophe and Bow to Combat It 
Lenin's brilliant proposition on the possibility of socialism being 
victorious first in one capitalist country alone was further developed 
as applied to Russia. Lenin resolutely exposed the disastrous policy of 
the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries, who were still asserting 
that Russia was ripe only for a bourgeois tmd not for a socialist revolu- 
tion. These short-sighted politicians completely failed to understand that 
the war had accelerated the growth of the capitalist monopolies and 
their transformation into state-monopoly groupings in all the bour;7 eois 
countries, including Russia. And state-monopoly capitalism, wrote 
Lenin, "is a complete material preparation for socialism, the threshold 
of socialism".*** 

* V. I. Lenin. Collected Works, Vol. 25, p. 358. 
** Ibid., p. 364. 
*** Ibid., p. 359. 


the second half of September all the newspapers, from the Consti- 
• nal-Democrat Rech {Speech) to the Menshevik Novaya Zhizn {New 
' U -M and all the bourgeois and. conciliatory parties, were discussing a 
that had now become a matter of momcnt-thc possibility of 

Hon that had now become a matter of momcnt-the possibility v 
T^transfer of state power to the Bolshevik Party. They were all of 
h opird° n that the Bolsheviks were "brave only in words" and would 
ver dare to take full power alone, and that if they did it would be 
Siftirs only for a very short time. The bourgeoisie and the Socialist- 
Revolutionary and Menshevik yes-men tried to sow doubts among the 
pie a bout the Bolsheviks' intentions, and to frighten the Bolsheviks 
themselves with talk of what were supposed to be the insoluble tasks 
of government. 

"Don't try to scare us, gentlemen, you won't succeed!" was Lenin s 
reply in his splendid article 'Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Power?" 
The Bolsheviks and the advanced workers were ready to take over 
administration of the country immediately and to maintain their Soviet 
power to the last, using it to liberate the working people of all exploita- 
tion. The transfer of state administration to the proletarians and semi- 
proletarians, Lenin wrote, would produce such unprecedented revolu- 
tionary enthusiasm among the masses, and so increase the strength of 
the people in the fight for the new life and the revival and development 
of the economy that much that had seemed impossible would become 
possible for the toiling millions as soon as they began working for 
themselves instead of being forced to work for the capitalists and 
landowners. The main thing was to inspire the oppressed and the 
working people with faith in their strength. 

Lenin developed the important proposition that while resolutely 
breaking up the apparatus of oppression of the bourgeois state machine 
it would be necessary to preserve the "accounting and registering" 
apparatus set up by capitalism. This apparatus, he taught, need not and 
should not be smashed. It must be taken out of capitalist control and 
put under the control of the proletarian Soviets; it must be made much 
wider, more versatile and comprehensive. Lenin also advanced the 
important thesis that the victorious proletariat should draw the 
bourgeois intelligentsia into the work of socialist construction. 

A Bolshevik government, wrote Lenin, would be unshakable. Even 
|ts opponents were obliged to admit that the Bolsheviks' demands were 
Just, that their programme expressed the fundamental interests of 
fte toiling masses and the oppressed nationalities. Regarding the 
question of peace, he wrote that the proletariat "truly represents 
"te whole nation, all live and honest people in all classes, the vast 
^ajority of the petty bourgeoisie",* because everyone knew for certain 
that only the proletariat, when it came to power, would immediately 
oner a just peace to all the belligerent nations and secure such 
a peace. 

V. r. Lenin, Collected Works. Vol. 26, p. 99. 


The opponents of the socialist proletariat were doing all they could 
to create the impression that Lenin and the Bolsheviks were launching 
an "experiment" which had no solid basis, which contradicted the 
course of history and was therefore doomed to failure. 

Lenin firmly denounced these assertions as completely untenable. It 
was true of course, he said, that the sense of justice alone, the feelings 
of the masses outraged by exploitation could never by itself set them 
on the true path to socialism. But in their preparations for the socialist 
revolution the Bolsheviks were guided by profound and objective laws 
of social development. Concluding his article Lenin wrote of this as 
follows: "But now that, thanks to capitalism, the material apparatt of 
the big banks, syndicates, railways, and so forth, has grown, now that 
the immense experience of the advanced countries has accumulated a 
stock of engineering marvels, the employment of which is being hindered 
by capitalism, now that the class-conscious workers have built up a 
party of a quarter of a million members to systematically lay hold of 
this apparatus and set it in motion with the support of all the wo -king 
and exploited people-now that these conditions exist, no power on e rtfi 
can prevent the Bolsheviks, it they do not allow themselves to be scared 
and if they succeed in taking power, from retaining it until the triumph 
of the world socialist revolution."* 

In "The Impending Catastrophe and How to Combat It", and "Can 
the Bolsheviks Retain State Power?" Lenin put forward several proposi- 
tions that were of truly programmatic importance. The measures to be 
undertaken by a proletarian government in building the new, socialist 
life that Lenin mapped out on the eve of the October Revolution have 
since been adopted with great success in the U.S.S.R. and all socialist 
countries. This is quite natural because these measures arc in line with 
the principal objective laws characteristic of all countries that take the 
path of socialist revolution and building socialism. 

On August 25, General Kornilov, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, 
started an army revolt. A puppet of the landowners and the bourgeoisie, 
he withdrew an army corps and Cossack units from the front and 
marched on Petrograd. The command was given that this force should 
enter the city "not later than September 1" to "restore order", in other 
words, to strangle the revolution. The revolt was inspired by the 
Constitutional-Democratic Party. At this point the revolution was in 
grave danger. In an article "Rumours of a Conspiracy" and a letter "T° 
the Central Committee" Lenin devised tactics for the Bolsheviks in their 
fight against Kornilov's attempted coup. We, he wrote, are fighting, and 
shall go on fighting, against Kornilov, just as Kerensky's troops are 
fighting him, but we do not support Kerensky, we expose his weakness 
and vacillation, we expose the whole Provisional Government as accom- 
plices in the Kornilov plot. The Bolsheviks joined the "Committee & 
National Resistance to the Counter-Revolution" that was set up by the 

* V. i. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 130. 


n n-al Executive Committee. The C.E.C, sent out a telegram to local 
p. tv organisations that gave the essence of Lenin's tactics against Koi- 
lov. "F° r tne purpose of repulsing the counter-revolution we have tech- 
"•cal ' co-operation and exchange of information with the Soviet while 
^aintaining complete political independence."* The Bolsheviks mobilised 
the masses to fight Kornilov. In a few days the counter revolutionary 
revolt was crushed. In this period of struggle against Kornilov the masses 
aqain became active, a fact that was reflected in the work of the Soviets, 
jnany of which, though still not breaking with their Socialist- 
Revolutionary and Menshcvik leaders, came out against the Kornilov 

On September 1 (14), Lenin wrote his famous article "On Compro- 
mises", in which he refuted the ignorant and philistine conception that 
the Bolsheviks arc opposed in principle to alt forms of compromise (a 
conception the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks did all they 
could to encourage). He showed the real attitude of the working-class 
Marxist party towards compromises. "The task of a truly revolutionary 
party is not to declare that it is impossible to renounce all compromises, 
but to be able, through all compromises, when they are unavoidable, to 
remain true to its principles, to its class, to its revolutionary purpose, 
to its task of paving the way for revolution and educating the mass of 
the people for victory in the revolution."** 

Pointing out further that, thanks to the rout of the Kornilov revolt, 
the Russian revolution had taken a sudden and original turn enabling 
it to develop peacefully, Lenin proposed that the Bolsheviks could offer 
the petty-bourgeois democratic parties a voluntary compromise, that 
the Bolsheviks could agree to again return to the prc-July demand of all 
power to the Soviets and formation of a government of Socialist- 
Revolutionaries and Mensheviks accountable to the Soviets. 

The compromise in this case would be, Lenin wrote, that the 
Bolsheviks, while not claiming participation in this government, would 
abandon an immediate demand for the transfer of power to the 
proletariat and the poorest peasantry, and also abandon revolutionary 
methods of fighting for this demand, This would all, of course, be 
conditional on whether full democracy was observed in the formation 
and work of the Soviets and whether the Bolsheviks were given full 
freedom to agitate for their views and for influence in the Soviets. The 
Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks, on the other hand, having 
formed a government accountable to the Soviets, would at once gain 
the full opportunity of carrying out the programme of their bloc with 
'he support of the great majority of the people. 
"In my opinion, the Bolsheviks, who arc partisans of world revolution 
J d revolutionary methods, may and should consent to this compromise 

* Correspondence Between the Secretariat of the C.C. of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.) and 
0c al Party Organisations. (March-October, 1917.) Russ. ed., Moscow, 1957. Part 1, 
■ 31. 

V. i. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 25, p. 305. 

only for the sake of the revolution's peaceful developmcnt-an opportunity 
that is extremely rare in history and extremely valuable, an opportunity 
that only occurs once in a while/'* 

Lenin warned the Bolsheviks, however, that the specific political 
situation that made it possible to compromise with the petty-bourgeois 
parties would last only a very short time. By September 3 (16), in a 
corollary to the article "On Compromises", Lenin reached the conclu- 
sion: ". . .perhaps it is already too late to offer a compromise. Perhaps 
the few days in which a peaceful development was still possible ] , c 
passed too."** The Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries categorically 
rejected the Bolsheviks' proposal. 

After the rout of the Kornilov revolt the composition of the Soviets 
began to change and there was a swing-over to the Bolshevik position. 
On August 31 (September 13), the Pctrograd Soviet went over to the 
Bolsheviks. It was followed on September 5 (IS) by the Moscow Soviet. 
After their victories in the Soviets of Moscow and Petrograd, the 
Bolsheviks made great gains in other city Soviets. Demands for the 
transfer of power to the Soviets came pouring into Petrograd from all 
sides. The Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Mensheviks, Lenin v 
did everything possible to "turn the Soviets (particularly the Petrograd 
Soviet and the All-Russia Soviet, i.e., the Central Executive Committee} 
into useless talking shops which, under the guise o£ 'control', merely 
adopted useless resolutions and suggestions which the government 
shelved with the most polite and kindly smile. The 'fresh breeze' of 
the Kornilov affair, however, which promised a real storm, was enough 
for all that was musty in the Soviet to blow away for a while, m& 
for the initiative of the revolutionary people to begin expressing itself 
as something majestic, powerful and invincible".*** 

In the articles "One of the Fundamental Issues of the Revolution", 
"The Russian Revolution and Civil War", and "The Tasks of the Revo- 
lution", written in the first half of September, Lenin again returned to 
the question of the possibility of peaceful development of the 
revolution in Russia in the event of all power at the centre and in the 
provinces being handed over to the Soviets, 

The concentration of all state power in the Soviets, Lenin pointed out, 
was the only means that could make the further development of the 
revolution gradual, peaceful and calm. In his article "The Tasks of the 
Revolution" Lenin also drew up a programme for a new government 
that would be accountable to the Soviets. It contained the following 
points: immediately offer peace to all the belligerent nations on demo- 
cratic terms; confiscate and nationalise the landed estates and 
them the property of the working people; nationalise the banks and the 
key branches of industry; introduce workers' control over production 
and consumption on a nation-wide scale,- ensure Russia's safety from a 

* V. r. Lenin. Collected Works, Vol. 25, pp. 306-07. 
** Ibid., p. 310. 
*** Ibid., pp. 369-70. 


petition of "Kornilov" attempts. This Soviet government would 
^needily convoke the Constituent Assembly, in the legislative activity 
£ which the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mensheviks saw the practical 
Realisation of the economic and social demands in their programmes. 

When he proposed to the Socialist-Revolutionary and Mcnshevik 
parties the formation of a Soviet government with the above programme, 
Lenin had in mind not only the changes that had taken place in the 
Soviets but also the fact that in September serious internal dissension 
had arisen in these parties, Left-wing opposition to the Right-wing 
leaders had come to the surface, and voices were being raised among 
the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Internationalist Mensheviks 
in favour of transferring power to the Soviets. Lenin advanced his 
proposals not just to the Mcnshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary leaders, 
but mainly to the "rank and file", to the masses, and not only to the 
Bolshevik-minded, "but particularly to those who follow the Socialist- 
Revolutionaries, to the non-party elements, to the unenlightened". 

However, the Right-wing Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik 
leaders, who were at the same time leaders of the Central Executive 
Committee, rejected the Bolshevik proposals for a "Left-wing coalition" 
and continued their policy of collaboration with the counter-revolution. 
By so doing they cleared the ground for the bourgeoisie to unleash civil 
war against the revolutionary proletariat, and made an uprising by the 
workers, soldiers and peasants inevitable. As Lenin noted, by the middle 
of September the slogan "All power to the Soviets!" no longer meant 
peaceful development of the revolution, but was "equivalent io a call 
for an uprising". 

a The outstanding importance of "The Political Situation", "On Slogans", 
"On Compromises", "One of the Fundamental Issues of the Revolu- 
tion", "The Russian Revolution and Civil War", "The Tasks of the 
Revolution" and other articles, written in the period from the end of 
the July events and the middle of September, is that here Lenin, besides 
dealing with other important matters of principle, continued the work 
he had begun earlier on a problem, which is of the greatest importance 
to the Marxist parties, concerning peaceful and non-peaceful forms of 
revolution, concerning peaceful and non-peaceful ways for the socialist 
Proletariat to gain state power. 

Lenin's call for insurrection. In the middle of September Lenin wrote 
m-H tCr *° t ^ Le Ccntral Committee and the Petrograd and Moscow Com- 

ittees "The Bolsheviks Must Assume Power", and a letter to the Central 
anrj nmittee "Marxism and Insurrection". On the basis of a penetrating 
^ a comprehensive analysis of the international and internal situation 
in ^ Party ^e tas k °* P r cparing and organising an armed uprising 
a °* , et " t0 seize power. "The Bolsheviks," Lenin wrote, "having obtained 
ca??'i° rity in the SovicLs of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies of both 

pit als, can and must take state power into their own hands."* The 

v - I- Lenin. Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 19. 


Bolsheviks had behind them not only the majority of the working class 
but also the majority of the people. This was proved by the fact that 
the Soviets had taken power in many parts of the country after th e 
rout of the Kornilov revolt 

Lenin warned the Party he did not as yet raise the question of the 
"day" or "moment" of the uprising in the narrow sense, but the 
Bolsheviks must go ahead with the practical preparations. The cou ntry 
and the revolution were in grave danger. The Russian bourgeoisie, i n 
full accord with the British imperialists, was preparing to give up 
Pctrograd to the Germans, was actually going to the length of criminally 
betraying its country for the sake of maintaining power over the people. 
At the same time, Russia's "allies", the British and French imperial- 
ists, as reported in the press, had begun negotiations for a separate 
peace with Germany "at the expense of Russia". Only the Bolshevik 
Party, if it took power and immediately offered the nations peace, could 
thwart the plans of international imperialism and save the countr, and 
the revolution. 

The people, Lenin pointed out, had no more patience with the "leader- 
ship" of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and the Menshcviks. Thcv had 
justified respect for the firm Bolshevik leadership the Party had demon- 
strated during the rout of Kornilov. The victory of the Bolsheviks was 
assured because the people were near to despair and the Bolshevik- were 
offering them a sure way out of the war, sure salvation from devaluation 
and famine. 

In his letter "Marxism and Insurrection" Lenin showed that the 
Marxist treatment of insurrection as an art had nothing in common 
with Blanquism and conspiracy. Taking the views of Marx and Engcls 
on armed insurrection a step further, he wrote that to be succcs sEtil an 
insurrection must rely on the advanced class, on a revolutionary Upsurge 
of the people and on that crucial moment in the development of the 
revolution when the activity of the advanced sections of the people is 
at its height and vacillation among the enemies and among the weak, 
half-hearted and irresolute friends of the revolution is strongest If all 
these conditions are present, to refuse to treat insurrection as an art is 
a betrayal of Marxism and the revolution. In this letter Lenin outlined 
his brilliant plan for the organisation of the uprising. 

Lenin held that under the new conditions the slogan "All power to 
the Soviets!" had acquired a new substance because the Soviets them- 
selves had changed. This slogan now meant transfer of power to IB 
Soviets by means of insurrection, the direct establishment of the 
dictatorship of the proletariat, the organisation of this dictatorship a" 
giving it state form. 

Lenin's letters were discussed at a meeting of the Central Coim n" 
of the Bolshevik Party on September 15. At this meeting, some oi l * 
members of the Central Committee, particularly Kamcnev, offeree su ^ 
strong opposition to the proposals in Lenin's letters concerning ' dVl * Q 
insurrection that the question of whether to destroy the letters had 

out to the vote. Six members voted for the proposal to preserve only 

e copy of the letters, four voted against, and six abstained. It was 
decided to hold another meeting shortly to discuss the tactical problems 
aise d in the letters. 

Between September 14 and 22, the Socialist-Revolutionary and Mcn- 
shevik Central Executive Committee held an All-Russia Democratic 
Conference for the alleged purpose of putting a stop to irresponsible 
personal rule* and setting up a government accountable to the demo- 
cratic bodies. At first Lenin thought it necessary to make use of the 
conference platform to show the masses the disastrous results of the 
policy of compromise with the capitalists conducted by the petty- 
bourgeois parties. He acknowledged the possibility of securing the 
fullest possible representation for the Bolsheviks at this conference and 
of sending workers' delegations to it who would demand the transfer 
of all power to the Soviets of Workers', Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies. 
But when it transpired that the Socialist-Revolutionary and Menshevik 
leaders had rejected the demands that they should break with the 
bourgeoisie, and had been trying to rig the conference in their favour, 
Lenin decided that participation of representatives of the Bolshevik Party 
was a mistake. Lenin saw clearly that the principal aim of the Demo- 
cratic Conference was to divert the people's attention from the mounting 
wave of revolution, to lure the Bolsheviks up the blind alley of an All- 
Russia "talking shop" and so isolate them from the masses, who were 
ready to take direct and effective action. 

The Bolsheviks, wrote Lenin, having read their declaration were to 
withdraw from this dummy conference, leaving one or two, or perhaps 
three, of their 136 delegates as a "communications service", and send 
out all the others to the factories and the barracks. When the Democratic 
Conference was over, Lenin insistently demanded that the Bolsheviks 
should boycott the Pre-parliament, which had been set up by the con- 
ference. He argued that this body carried no weight as a parliamentary 
tribune, whereas the means of propaganda, agitation and organisation 
outside parliament were of decisive importance. 

The Party Central Committee discussed Lenin's proposal on the 
Bolsheviks' withdrawal from the Pre-parliament and accepted it in spite 
°f the opposition of Kamencv and other capitulators. The Bolsheviks 
frust go to the Soviets, said Lenin, to the trade unions, to the masses in 
general, and rouse them to the struggle. 

With tnc revolutionary crisis developing in Russia at such speed 
Lenin decided he could not remain any longer in Helsingfors. From so 
*ar away it was difficult to direct the Party at this critical revolutionary 
time. The mail arrived late from Petrograd, the morning papers did not 
come till the evening of the following day. Lenin told his host Rovio that 
he wanted to move, and asked him to get him a wig and arrange 
J^&moctetion in Vyborg. 

The reference is to the bourgeois Provisional Government, headed by the 
^ahst-Rcvolutionary Kerensky. 

Well before the end of the month Lenin was in Vyborg. He y/ as 
provided with lodgings by a member of the staff of the local workers' 
paper Tyd {Labour) Julio K. Latukka, who lived in Talikkala, a work , g , 
class district of the town. 

As usual Lenin set to work immediately. Latukka x'ecalls that Lenin 
kept to a strict timetable. At seven in the morning he was at his desk 
and all through the day he maintained regular hours for dinner and 
supper, for discussion and for his afternoon rest. Only the hour f 0r 
going to bed was irregular. "That must depend on how productive the 
day has been, so that nothing is left undone," he used to say. 

Soon after his arrival in Vyborg, Lenin sent I. Smilga, Chairman of 
the Regional Army, Navy and Finnish Workers' Committee, a very 
important secret letter setting out a number of practical tasks connected 
with military preparation of the Baltic Fleet and Finnish troops for the 
forthcoming overthrow of Kerensky. Smilga immediately informed 
P. Dybenko, Chairman of the Central Baltic Fleet Committee, Dybenko's 
assistant N. Izmailov and the whole presidium of the organisation of 
what was in the letter. The Bolsheviks of the Baltic Fleet and the troops 
stationed in Finland set about fulfilling Lenin's instructions. 

Lenin stressed the need for the Party to take a serious attitude to 
armed insurrection. From Vyborg he sent articles and letters to Pctrograd, 
urging the Central Committee and other responsible Party bodies to 
abandon their naive and dangerous hopes that "Kerensky would be 
swept away" by a spontaneous "wave", and to start resolute prepara- 
tions for an uprising. In a long article "The Crisis Has Matured" Lenin 
noted fresh changes that had occurred in the internal political situation 
at the beginning of October, and that called imperatively for an 
immediate armed uprising. 

The growing peasant revolt, the mounting strength of the national 
liberation movement in the country, the refusal of the Finnish troops 
and the Baltic Fleet to obey the Provisional Government, the readiness 
of the soldiers of the Northern Front to support the Bolsheviks, the 
unwillingness of the soldiers of the other fronts to fight for the impe- 
rialist aims of the Russian and foreign bourgeoisie, all these things 
proved irrefutably that a nation-wide revolutionary crisis had matured, 
that a great turning-point had arrived, compelling the Party oi the 
proletariat to take energetic revolutionary action against the bourgeois 
Provisional Government. "The whole future of the Russian revolution 
is at stake," Lenin wrote. "The honour of the Bolshevik Party is 
question. The whole future of the international workers' revolutic ri f° r 
socialism is at stake/'* The Bolsheviks, he wrote, must not let them- 
selves be swayed by constitutional illusions, by "faith" in the convoca- 
tion of the Constituent Assembly. The Bolsheviks had no right to wait 
for the Congress of Soviets to be held on October 20 because this would 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 82. 


mean letting the moment slip, losing weeks and weeks, even days 
decided everything. 

^.11 the time he was in Vyborg Lenin was longing to get to revolu- 
tionary Pctrograd. More than once he asked the Central Committee 
t0 a llow him to come to the capital. On October 3, the Central 
Committee passed a decision ". . r to suggest to Ilyich that he come to 
Petrograd to ensure regular and close contact".* Unfortunately, there 
are no documents confirming the exact date of Lenin's arrival in 
petrograd from Vyborg. The recollections of his contemporaries on this 
matter are contradictory. Some maintain that Lenin arrived in Petrograd 
at the end of September, and state the day as being either the 22nd 
or the 29th. Others consider that Lenin arrived at the beginning of 
October. The only official document that has been preserved is the 
Central Committee decision mentioned above. Judging by this decision, 
Lenin must have arrived in Petrograd soon after October 3. According 
to certain sources, on October 1, Lenin in disguise and accompanied 
by Eino Rahja took the train to the station of Raivola. There he boarded 
die tender of locomotive No. 293** driven by Hugo Jalava, an engine- 
driver with whom he was already acquainted. After crossing the frontier 
safely, he got out at the station of Udelnaya. Nadczhda Krupskaya had 
a secret apartment ready for him at the house of Margarita Fofanova, 
one of her colleagues in the cultural commission of the Vyborg District 

Lenin set about preparing the Party for organising the uprising with 
tremendous energy and persistence. On October 8, he wrote his famous 
"Advice of an Onlooker". In this article and others Lenin builds the 
statements made by Marx and Engels into a comprehensive and integral 
Marxist doctrine on insurrection and develops this doctrine as applied 
to the epoch of imperialism. Pointing out that "armed uprising is a 
special form of political struggle, one subject to special laws", and that 
it must be treated as an art, Lenin reminds the Bolsheviks in his "Advice 
of an Onlooker" of the basic rules of armed insurrection formulated by 
Marx and Engels and states them specifically as follows: 

"1) Never play with insurrection, but when beginning it realise firmly 
that you must go all the way, 

'2) Concentrate a great superiority of forces at the decisive point and 
at the decisive moment, otherwise the enemy, who has the advantage of 
/i"5 r Preparation and organisation, will destroy the insurgents. 
3) Once the insurrection has begun, you must act with the greatest 
^termination, and by all means, without fail, take the offensive. 
^etence is the death of every armed rising.' 

V You must try to take the enemy by surprise and seize the moment 
w aen his forces are scattered. 

lfflft „ Minutcs of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.I..P.(B.), August 19 17- February 
R uss. cd., Moscow, 1958, p. 74. • B " v 

fcvtlio^ 1957 ' locomotiv e No. 293 was ceremonially presented to Ihe Soviet Union 
ne 'government of Finland. 


"5) You must strive for daily successes, however small (one might 
say hourly, if it is the case of one town), and at all costs retain 'motal 
superiority' ."* 

Guided by these rules and taking into account the concrete circum- 
stances existing in Russia at the time, Lenin wrote, the Bolsheviks must 
organise an attack on Petrograd and carry it out as swiftly and unex- 
pectedly as possible, simultaneously both from within and without, from 
the working-class districts of the capital, and from Finland, Revel and 
Kronstadt; the whole fleet must be brought into the operation and a 
gigantic superiority of forces created over the counter-revolutionary 
forces of Kerensky. It was essential, he said, to combine the three : □ 
forces: the fleet, the workers and the army units, so as to occupy without 
fail and hold at all costs the telephone exchange, the telegraph, the rail- 
way stations and, above all, the bridges. It was also essential to select 
the most resolute elcmcnts-the shock detachments, the young workers 
and the best of the sailors-and form them into small units for occupying 
key-points and for taking part in all important operations. 

In his letter to the Bolsheviks participating in the Congress of Sc Lets 
of the Northern Region, Lenin described the international and internal 
conditions enabling the Bolsheviks to seize power immediately and 
demanding of them that they take swift and resolute revolutionary 
action. He emphasised that the Russian revolution now depended no I on 
resolutions and voting at congresses but on insurrection. "It is in the 
vicinity of Petrograd and in Petrograd itself that the insurrection can, 
and must be decided on and effected, as earnestly as possible, with as 
much preparation as possible, as quickly as possible and as energetically 
as possible."** Lenin ended his letter with the words: "Delay would be 

Historic meetings of the Central Committee on October 10 and 16. 

On October 10, at G. Sukhanova's flat, a meeting of the Central 
Committee of the Party took place which was presided over by Lenin and 
which played a vital part in preparing the Party for armed uprising. 
Most of those who attended had not seen Lenin since the July days. 
When he came into the room, everyone rose from their seats and 
surrounded him in loud and friendly welcome. They were amazed at 
Lenin's strange appearance. He had neither beard nor moustache and 
was wearing a grey wig, which he kept smoothing down with both hands. 

The report to the meeting on the current situation was made by 
Lenin. He pointed out that politically the ground for seizure of power 
by the Soviets was fully prepared but that since the beginning ot 
September there had been impermissible indifference towards the ques- 
tion of insurrection among the leading Bolshevik circles. Technical 
preparations for the uprising must now be the major aspect of the 
Party's activities. The Centred Committee adopted the historic lesolulion 

* V. [. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. ISO. 
•* Ibid., p. 187. 


nosed by Lenin in which it was stressed that an armed uprising was 
P r stable and the time for it was fully ripe, and that the whole work 
11 1 Party should be subordinated to the tasks of organising and 
att y'mg it out. For the political direction of the uprising a Political 
Bureau of the Central Committee was formed with Lenin at its head. 
Only Kamenev and Zinoviev opposed the uprising. 

This historic meeting of the Central Committee ended late at night. 
IX would have been a long way for Lenin to return on foot to the Vyborg 
District, so he spent the night at Eino Rahja's flat. Out of consideration 
for his host Lenin refused to take a bed, and went to sleep on the floor 
with some books for a pillow. 

After the Central Committee meeting of October 10, Lenin devoted 
himself to further work on the plan for an armed uprising and had meet- 
ings with Central Committee members. At H. Jalava's flat on October 
14, Lenin discussed the practical problems of the uprising with leading 
Party workers. 

Between the 12th and 15th of October, Lenin met O. Pyatnitsky, a 
member of the Moscow Party Committee, on several occasions and 
talked with him about preparations for the uprising in Moscow. 

On October 16, an enlarged meeting of the Central Committee was 
held on the premises of the Lcsnovsko-Udclninskaya District Duma, of 
which Mikhail Kalinin was the chairman. Lenin made a report defending 
the Central Committee's resolution on armed uprising. Again Zinoviev 
and Kamenev opposed the resolution. They both condemned the upris- 
ing, on the plea that the Bolshevik forces were still too small and greatly 
outnumbered by the forces of the counter-revolution; instead they 
demanded that the Party should wait for the convocation of the Con- 
stituent Assembly. They counterposed their tactics to what they called 
the conspiratorial tactics of Lenin and the Central Committee. Dzer- 
zhinsky, Kalinin, Krylenko, Sverdlov, Stalin and others criticised the 
position of Kamenev and Zinoviev. Nearly everyone present stated his 
opinion and the debate went on till morning. The question was put to 
the vote. By nineteen votes to two, with four abstentions, the Central 
Committee passed the following resolution, proposed by Lenin: "The 
meeting fully welcomes and wholly supports the Central Committee's 
resolution, calls upon all organisations and all workers and soldiers to 
m ake thorough and most intensive preparations for an armed uprising, 
and for support of the centre set up by the Central Committee for this 
Purpose, and expresses complete confidence that the Central Committee 
an _d the Soviet will in good time indicate the favourable moment and 
suitable means for launching the attack."* 

Alter the meeting the Central Committee assembled alone and passed 
?. Vision: "The Central Committee has resolved to organise a Revolu- 
l onary Military Centre composed of the following members: Sverdlov, 

arv r.JHnutes £ the Centra! Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.(B), August 1917-Fcbru- 
y 1918. Russ. cd., Moscow, 1958, p. 104. 


Stalin, Bubnov, Uritsky and Dzerzhinsky. This centre is part of the 
Revolutionary Committee of the Soviet."* 

On October 16, a plenary meeting of the Petrograd Soviet endorse^ 
by a vast majority the decision of the Executive Committee and Soldiers' 
Section on the creation of a Revolutionary Military Committee of whicli 
the Revolutionary Military Centre set up by the Central Committee 
formed the core. 

On the basis of the historic decisions passed by the Party Central 
Committee on October 10 and 16, preparations by Bolshevik organisa- 
tions for the armed uprising were launched in all parts of the country 
In many towns and districts revolutionary military committees were 
set up to give direct leadership in the working people's struggle lor the 
establishment of Soviet power. 

But a number of responsible Party members, including certain mem- 
bers of the Central Committee, seemed still to be underestimating the 
importance of the military side of the uprising. On the night of October 
17, Lenin met the leaders of the Military Organisation of the Central 
Committee (the "Voyenka") V. Antonov-Ovseyenko, N. Podvoisky and 
V. Ncvsky at the flat of D. Pavlov, a worker, and heard their views on 
the progress of preparations for the uprising and gave them some very 
important advice and instructions. 

Lenin paid special attention to the selection of Red Guard commanders 
with regard to their military qualifications, skill with weapons, knowl- 
edge of street-fighting tactics, and so on. When it turned out that 
Podvoisky had no knowledge of any of his commanders from this 
standpoint, Lenin shook his head reproachfully and said; "Well, there's 
a chairman of our Military Organisation for you! How will you direct 
the uprising if you don't know what kind of commanders you have?" 

But when Podvoisky listed the commanders of machine-gun and 
Guards regiments who had unconditionally come over to the Bolsheviks 
in the past few days, Lenin exclaimed with great satisfaction: "What 
tremendous forces the revolution has! Now the main thing is to lead 
them to victory, but victory cannot be achieved without a knowledge 
of warfare." 

Lenin went on to say that the directing force of the uprising in a 
socialist revolution was the working class. The Red Guard detachments 
that had been formed at many enterprises in all districts of the capital 
and consisted of workers should become the chief military force, the 
force on which the success of the uprising depended. In saying this, 
Lenin had no intention of belittling the importance of the revolutionary 
military units. 

It was long after midnight when this discussion between the leaders 
of the "Voyenka" and the leader of the revolution ended. "I went back 
as if on wings," Podvoisky recalls. "Lenin's words were drumming in 
my head like hammers: 'You have the masses before you. You am* 

* Minutes of the Central Committee of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.), p. 104. 

News from the front 
Drawing by N. Zhukov 

aan ise military leadership for them. Give them all the arms you ean- 
Sjt's what you must do.' " 

That same night the entire Bolshevik Military Organisation imme- 
diately set about putting Lenin's instructions into effect. 

Before the assault. On October 18, just when preparations for the 
armed uprising were in full swing both at the centre and in the 
provinces, Kamenev, acting on his own behalf and on behalf of Zinoviev, 
qave an interview to the semi-Menshevik newspaper Novaya Zhizn 
(New Life), in which he stated his disagreement with the decision on 
the armed uprising that the Party was preparing. He thus betrayed to 
the enemy the secret decision taken by the Party Central Committee. 
This was a monstrous piece of treachery, which might have caused 
irreparable harm to the cause of the revolution. 

At the same time Trotsky, though making no open declaration against 
the Central Committee's decision on armed uprising, continued to foster 
constitutional illusions in the Party and urged that the uprising should 
be postponed until the Second Congress of Soviets opened, which would 
in fact have meant wrecking the uprising altogether. Lenin vigorously 
attacked this flabby attitude. To wait for the Congress, he wrote, would 
be downright idiocy or downright betrayal. 

On learning of the Bolsheviks' decision, the Menshevik and Socialist- 
Revolutionary Central Executive Committee immediately resolved to 
postpone the Congress of Soviets till October 25, in order to upset the 
plans of the Bolsheviks, allow the Provisional Government to take the 
initiative and make better preparations for crushing the forces of the 

The enemy, forewarned, acted at once. By order of the commander of 
the Petrograd Military Area, all street manifestations and meetings were 
banned. The order instructed commanders of military units to arrest all 
persons appearing in barracks and calling for armed action, and to 
suppress any armed action by the masses immediately by force of arms. 
On the night of October 18, the Provisional Government met in secret 
to discuss the question of the "Bolshevik action". 

The whole bloc of Constitutional Democrats, Socialist-Revolutionaries 
and Mcnsheviks unanimously demanded the severest repressive meas- 
les against the Bolsheviks. On October 19, the Minister of Justice 
ordered the public prosecutor to issue immediately a fresh warrant for 
Lenin's arrest. Just as after the July days, Kcrcnsky's detectives began 
3 \If- SS search for the lead er of the Bolshevik Party. 

st Mr^u an ger and contempt Lenin branded Kamenev and Zinoviev as 
nkebreakers of the revolution and demanded that their conduct should 
condemned and they themselves should be expelled from the Party: 
conri consider {t disgraceful on my part if I were to hesitate to 
with these formcr comr ades because of my earlier close relations 
com a m " 1 declave outright that I no longer consider either of them 
trades and that I will fight with all my might, both in the Central 


Committee and at the Congress, to secure the expulsion of both of them 
from the Party."* 

This was Lenin's uncompromising attitude. But his attitude to these 
strikebreakers was not supported by everyone. Stalin, for instance, 
without consulting the Central Committee and other members of the 
Rabocky Put {Workers' Path) editorial board, published a letter hots, 
Zinoviev in the October 20 issue of the paper containing a completely 
unsupported denial of Lenin's charges against him. Stalin published 
an editorial note asserting that with Zinoviev's statement (in Rah - hy 
Put) and Kamcnev's (in the Pctrograd Soviet) "the question may be 
regarded as settled. The harsh tone of Comrade Lenin's article does not 
alter the fact that basically we still share the same views", Stalin thus 
exhibited a conciliatory attitude to the strikebreakers of the October 

On October 20, Lenin's letters about Kamencv and Zinoviev epe 
discussed at a meeting of the Central Committee. Lenin was not present. 
Most of the Central Committee members (Stalin, Svcrdlov, Soke 1 aikov 
and others) who were present did not support Lenin's proposal. By five 
votes to three it was decided to "accept Kamcnev's resignation" from, 
the Central Committee, and by six votes to "charge Kamencv and 
Zinoviev not to issue any statements against the Central Commii tteti's 
decisions and the line of work it has adopted".** A proposal that no 
member of the Central Committee should make any statements ag .inst 
Central Committee decisions was also accepted. 

In a letter to Sverdlov, written after this meeting, Lenin expressed his 
disagreement with the Central Committee decision on Kamencv and 
Zinoviev. He wrote: "In the case of Zinoviev and Kamenev, if you 
(+ Stalin, Sokolnikov and Dzcrzhinsky) demand a compromise, 
a proposal against me to refer the matter to the Party Tribunal (the 
facts are clear-Zinovicv also deliberately sabotaged): that will be a post- 
ponement."*** This letter is a striking illustration of Lenin's great ilty 
to principle, of his unswerving struggle to maintain a correct, consistent- 
ly revolutionary Party policy. 

Having exposed and isolated the opponents of the armed up 
in its own ranks, the Party went ahead even more energetically with 
practical preparations for the uprising. In all districts of Pctrograd and 
in many other towns, fresh contingents of the workers' guard and 
revolutionary committees were formed; the Red Guai-d, the principal 
righting force of the October Revolution, was trained and armed, 

Meanwhile the counter-revolutionaries, too, were mustering '.heir 
forces. Endeavouring to forestall the uprising of the revolutionary 
forces, the counter-revolutionaries were the first to attack. Early jn 
the morning of October 24, the Provisional Government attempt- d t° 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 217. ft 
** Minutes of the C.C. R.S.D.L.P.(B.), August 1917-Fcbruary 1918, Russ. ed„ 1^ 
p. 107. 

*** V. % Lenin, Collected Works, Slh Russ. cd.. Vol. 34, p. 434. 


press the Central Organ of the Bolshevik Party, Rabochy Put. On the 
fractions of the Revolutionary Military Centre, the Red Guards and 
^Jdiers of the Lithuanian Regiment and the 6th Reserve Battalion of 
Sjqineers took the newspaper office under their protection and mounted 
quai'd over the Smolny Institute. The Bolshevik paper came out only a 
? e w hours late. 

for many weeks Lenin had zealously prepared the Party and the 
working class for the uprising, worked out its basic rules and plans, 
checked up to see whether the Party organisations were ready for it 
in practice, and had kept a close watch on the development of the 
revolutionary situation in the country as a whole. He had worked hard 
to determine the "moment" for the uprising, the correct choice of which 
he considered to be decisive. Lenin insisted that the Provisional Govern- 
ment must be overthrown before the Second Congress of Soviets, so as 
to anticipate the enemy, who were expecting the Bolsheviks to attack on 
the day the Congress opened. 

While still in hiding, Lenin learned from E. Rahja and M. Fofanova 
that government forces were raising the bridges over the Neva. He 
immediately wrote a note to the Central Committee, asking permission 
to come to the Smolny. Soon afterwards Lenin wrote his historic letter 
to the Central Committee members demanding that the uprising be 
launched immediately. 

"I am writing these lines on the evening of the 24th. The situation is 
critical in the extreme. In fact it is now absolutely clear that to delay 
the uprising would be fatal. 

"With all my might I urge comrades to realise that everything now 
hangs by a thread; that we arc confronted by problems which arc not 
to be solved by conferences or congresses (even congresses of Soviets), 
but exclusively by peoples, by the masses, by the struggle of the armed 
people. . . , Wc must at all costs, this veiy evening, this very night, 
arrest the government, having first disarmed the officer-cadets (defeating 
them, if they resist), and so on History will not forgive revolution- 
aries for procrastinating when they could be victorious today (and 
they certainly will be victorious today), while they risk losing much 
orrow, in fact, they risk losing everything."* 

enin sent Fofanova with this letter to the Vyborg District Party Com- 
mittee to be passed on to the Central Committee, The same evening he 
himself decided to go to the Smolny at once. With the help of Eino 
^ahja, who was attached to Lenin as a messenger, he found an old over- 
eat and cap and tied a handkerchief round his cheek. In this effective 
Jjjsguise he set off, The note he left for Fofanova read as follows: "Gone 
n g e you didn't want me to go. Till we meet again. Ilyich." It was by 
means a safe journey. On the way he and Rahja were stopped more 
an once by patrols of officer-cadets. Lenin might easily have been 
^^o^But Lenin had the invaluable qualities of a revolutionary leader 

* v - I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 234-35. 

of the proletariat. In moments of danger he was particularly daring 
brave and resourceful. All the hazards of the journey to the SmoliS 
Institute were successfully overcome. 

Lenin's last spell of hiding was over. Throughout this exceptional 
difficult period in his life and work the workers, the rank-and-file Party 
members had risked their own lives to protect his. They had given hhn 
every care and attention. Lenin deeply appreciated this warmth f 
affection that sprang straight from the heart of the working class. 

Now at last Lenin was at the headquarters of the revolution-the 
Smolny. The leader of the Party had taken the whole course of the 
armed uprising under his firm and resolute control. 

Leader of the uprising. On that historic night the Smolny was a 
magnificent spectacle. It was brilliantly illuminated and humming with 
activity. Red Guards and representatives from the regiments and 
factories came from all parts for instructions. The Revolutionary Military 
Committee was in continuous session on the second floor. From time to 
time fresh guards were mounted at the doors and gates. Messengers 
from the Red Guards and revolutionary regiments came and went con* 
tinuously. In the great Assembly Hall workers and peasants, soldiers 
and sailors had gathered as delegates to the Second All-Russia Congress 
of Soviets. Armoured cars, lorries and motor-cycles roared aeross the 
square in front of the Smolny Institute. Field-guns and machine guns 
were mounted at the gates, the whole building was guarded by sentries. 
More and more contingents of workers, young and old, marched in and 
placed themselves at the disposal of the Revolutionary Military 
Committee. The bonfires blazing in the square lent a fantastic glow to the 
whole scene. 

Soon after Lenin's arrival at the Smolny, dispatch-riders rode off to 
the factories, districts and military units with orders to begH the 
uprising. The workers' Red Guard detachments, sailors and recii ncnts 
of Petrograd moved into action. A planned and lightning-swifl drive 
to block all the streets leading to the centre of the city and seize key- 
points and government offices was launched. By the following morning 
of October 25 (November 7) all the bridges across the Neva, the central 
telephone exchange, the telegraph office, the Petrograd Telegraph 
Agency, the wireless station, the railway and power stations, the State 
Bank and other important buildings had been occupied by Red G.iards. 
sailors and soldiers. With the exception of the Winter Palace, where the 
Provisional Government had taken refuge, and the Petroyrad Military 
Area Headquarters, the whole city was in the hands of the armed prole* 
tariat and the revolutionary troops. Lenin insisted that the Red Guards* 
sailors and soldiers occupy the Winter Palace. The uprising was already 
victorious. . , 

On the morning of October 25 an appeal "To the Citizens of Russia, 
written by Lenin, was published on behalf of the Revolutionary MihtaiJ 
Committee. It stated: "The Provisional Government has been depose - 
State power has passed into the hands of the organ of the Petrogi' 3 

■ e t of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputics-the Revolutionary Military 
r° mniittee, which heads the Petrograd proletariat and the garrison."* 
The same morning this appeal was published in the Bolshevik newspaper 
Rabochy i Soldat (Worker mid Soldier). Telegrams about the victory of the 
-volution in Petrograd were sent out all over Russia and to all fronts. 
lC At 2.30 p.m. an extraordinary meeting of the Petrograd Soviet opened 
■ the great Assembly Hall of the Smolny. The chairman's announce- 
ment that the meeting would be addressed by Lenin and Lenin's 
appearance in the hall roused jubilation and prolonged tumultuous 
applause from the deputies. It was a long time before the cheering and 
clapping died down. ''The workers' and peasants' revolution, about 
the necessity of which the Bolsheviks have always spoken, has been 

"From now on, a new phase in the history of Russia begins, and 
this, the third Russian revolution, should in the end lead to the victory 
of socialism/'** 

Amid a roar of applause from the whole hall Lenin proclaimed: 
"Long live the world socialist revolution!" 

By an overwhelming majority the Petrograd Soviet passed a resolu- 
tion written by Lenin which stressed the extraordinary solidarity, organi- 
sation, discipline and complete unanimity demonstrated by the masses 
"in this exceptionally bloodless and exceptionally successful uprising"; 
it expressed unshakable confidence that the Soviet Government, the 
government of workers and peasants, would advance steadfastly towards 
socialism, that the workers of the towns in alliance with the poorest 
peasantry would show firm, comradely discipline and maintain the 
absolute strict revolutionary order essential to the victory of socialism. 
On the evening of October 25, the historic shot from the revolutionary 
cruiser Aurora was fired and the assault on the Winter Palace began. 
It ended a few hours later in complete victory for the insurgent workers, 
soldiers and sailors. 

Thanks to the great feat of the working class and the peasants of 
Russia, accomplished under the leadership of Lenin's party, October 
25 (November 7), 1917, had become the glorious day of the victory of 
the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia. 

It was past three in the morning on October 26 (November 8) when 
the Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets received the news of the 
capture of the Winter Palace, the last stronghold of the counter- 
revolution. The anouncemcnt of the successful storming of the palace 
ai }d the arrest of the ministers of the Provisional Government was greeted 
ith a thunderous "hurrah!" and shouts of joy and approval. Amid a 
°rni of applause the Congress adopted the proclamation "To the 
orkers, Soldiers and Peasants!" written by Lenin, which announced 
e transfer of all state power in the capital and the provinces to the 

** v * L Leni n, Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 236. 
tb id., p. 239. 


Soviets. The Soviet state, a state of workers and peasants, was born 
The Congress called upon the workers and peasants, and particularly 
the soldiers in the trenches, to defend their state from anv 
encroachments by the imperialists. y 

Lenin was not present at the morning session of the Congress. He 
was at the Revolutionary Military Committee directing the final opera- 
tions of the assault on the Winter Palace and planning the first steos 
to be taken by the Bolshevik Soviet Government. He had not slept f or 
forty-eight hours. Only after the capture of the Winter Palace and ih e 
arrest of the ministers of the Provisional Government, and after he 
had satisfied himself that the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries would not 
walk out of the Congress of Soviets that had just opened, did Lenin 
leave the Smolny and go for a very short spell of sleep and rest at the 
flat of Bonch-Bruycvich, who lived not far away. A room had been 
prepared for Lenin but for a long time he could not fall asleep. Ta' ing 
care not to disturb anyone, he got up, quietly seated himself at a table 
and began to draft the Decree on Land, which he had thought out in 
advance, while still in hiding. 

On October 26 (November 8), Lenin was almost entirely occ. ted 
with questions relating to the defence of revolutionary Petrograd nd 
the mopping up of centres of counter-revolutionary resistance thai had 
formed in the city. In the afternoon, a Central Committee meeting in 
which Lenin took part discussed the question of the composition, 
structure and title of the new government of the new Russia, Since the 
representatives of the Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, who had been 
invited for talks, refused to take part in the government, the Central 
Committee decided to form a government composed entirely of 

Lenin's first decrees. The second and last session of the Second All- 
Russia Congress of Soviets began in the evening on October 26 
(November 8). 

John Reed has left us this description of Lenin in those historic #5. 

"It was just 8.40 when a thundering wave of cheers announced the 
entrance of the presidium, with Lenin-great Lenin-among them. A 
short, stocky figure, with a big head set down in his shoulders, bald 
and bulging. Little eyes, a snubbish nose, wide, generous mouth, and 
heavy chin, clean-shaven now, but already beginning to bristle with 
the well-known beard of his past and future. Dressed in shabby clothes, 
his trousers much too long for him. Unimpressive, to be the idol of a 
mob, loved and revered as perhaps few leaders in history have been. 
A strange popular leader-a leader purely by virtue of intellect; coloiu'- 
less, humourless, uncompromising and detached, without picturesque 
idiosyncrasies-but with the power of explaining profound ideas in 
simple terms, of analysing a concrete situation. And combined with 
shrewdness, the greatest intellectual audacity."* 

* John Reed, Ten Days That Shook the World. New York, 1934, p. 125. 


rhp first declaration of the newly born Soviet state was a declaration 
f eace. The report on peace was delivered by Lenin himself, the 
f Lv and inspirer of the October Revolution. 

Jc %ien L enin appeared on the platform/' A. Andreyev, a Congress 
Wte recalls, "the audience stood up and moved towards him. For 
long time he was unable to begin his speech because of round after 
a nnd of applause and shouts of: 'Long live Lenin I' _ 
^"The conference hall was an incredible sight. Shouts of joy mingled 
... applause. Besides the delegates, the hall was packed to over- 
flowing with workers, soldiers and sailors from all over the building. 
People climbed on to window-sills, ledges and chairs just to catch a 
Glimpse of Lenin standing on the platform. Workers and sailors kept 
tossing their hats and caps into the air, rifles were raised alott. 
Standing thus, the Congress listened to Lenin's report on peace."* 

Having pointed out that the question of peace was the most urgent 
and painful question of the day, Lenin read out his draft of the famous 
.Decree on Peace submitted for consideration of the Congress by the 
Bolshevik Party. The declaration (decree) called upon the peoples and 
Governments of all the belligerent countries to start immediate open 
negotiations for the conclusion of peace without annexations or 

"The government considers it the greatest of crimes against humanity 
to continue this war over the issue of how to divide among the strong 
and rich nations the weak nationalities they have conquered, and 
solemnly announces its determination immediately to sign terms ^ of 
peace to stop this war on the terms indicated, which are equally just 
for all nationalities without exception."** 

At the same time, Lenin's declaration stated that the Soviet Govern- 
ment did not regard its peace proposals as an ultimatum, that it was 
prepared to consider any other peace terms, and insisted only that they 
be presented as quickly as possible by any of the belligerent countries. 
The Soviet Government proposed the immediate signing of an armistice 
for a period of not less than three months in order to conclude the 
peace negotiations, and also to convene conferences of the peoples' 
representatives with full powers to ratify the terms of peace. It was 
also stated that the Soviet Government renounced the secret diplomacy 
and secret treaties of the tsarist and Provisional governments with the 
imperialist powers of Western Europe. 

The declaration ended with an appeal to the proletariat of Britain, 
France and Germany to help the Russian proletariat by ^ all-round, 
^solute and supreme action "to conclude peace successfully". 

When Lenin's report had been discussed the Congress unanimously 
Passed its first historic decrec-thc Decree on Peace. After a fresh burst 
of applause had greeted the results of the voting, the delegates, all 

* Reminiscences ol Lenin, Russ. ed., Moscow, 1957, Part 2, p. 19. 
** V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 250. 


standing sang the Internationale and joined in another tremendn 
ovation for Lenin, the author of the Decree on Peace, the leader of* 
victorious proletarian revolution. lQ& 

The fundamental significance of Lenin's Decree on Peace lies ■ 
the fact that it indicated the true path for the peoples of Russia 
all other countries, the path of struggle for withdrawal from the 'im 
perialist war, for peace, freedom and independence; it also laid th 
foundation of the whole peaceful foreign policy of the Bolshevik p-,Jf 
and the Soviet Government, the policy of coexistence between a soeSl 
ist state and the capitalist states. The Decree on Peace opened the Jtav 
before™ ^ international relations thafc thc world ^ never known 

Lenin addressed the Congress on yet another important question oF 
the agenda, the question of the land. He said that the Provision 
Government and Lhc compromising parties (Mcnshcviks and Socialist* 
Revolutionaries) that had taken part in it had committed a crime hv 
postponing on various pretexts the settlement of the land question that 
all their measures had been directed against the peasants and forced 
them to revolt, that the bourgeois Provisional Government had w^J 
to drown thc peasants' revolt in blood, but had itself been swept awav 
wLicrs* Uprising of the revolutionary soldiers, sailors and 

During his speech Lenin read out thc draft of the Decree on Land 
written by him and submitted to the Congress by the Bolshevik Party" 
for approval By this decree thc landed estates were to be abolished 
forthwith without any compensation and turned over to the yo3ost* 
Land Committees and the uyczd Soviets of Peasants' Deputies 

Lenin proposed including in the Decree on Land a "Pcv ant 
Mandate on the Land'' by which "private ownership of the lam is 
abolished for ever". All land should be given over to the use of the 

PG0P v ^iT^ neither be bought sold - 
(estates) on which high-level scientific farming was practised were to 

be converted into model farms and turned over for "exclusive use to 
the state or to the communes, depending on the size and importance 
of such lands . The Peasant Mandate instituted land tenure on an 
Zfe** 1 I™*' 1 " e - c the knd should be distributed among the 
ZVn£?*?"A ? conto ;' rait y with a labour standard or a subsisl ice 
standard ** depending on local conditions. 

Explaining the necessity of including the "Peasant Mandate", which 
had been drawn up by the Socialist-Revolutionaries, in the Decree on 
J-and, Lenin said: Docs it matter who drew them up? As a democratic 
gove^mnent, we cannot ignore the decision of the masses of the people, 

administrative unit in pre-rcvolutionary Russia. 

tthds^%SSS t V^ amount oE land a famil y could fai ™ w » rffc 


n though we may disagree with it. In the fire of experience, applying 
\e decree in practice, and carrying it out locally, the peasants will 

h mselves realise where thc truth lies Experience is the best 

t acher and it will show who is right. Let the peasants solve this 

roblem from one end and we shall solve it from the other. Experience 
P.jj blige us to draw together in the general stream of revolutionary 
creative work, in the elaboration of new state forms. We must be guided 
by experience; we must allow complete freedom to the creative faculties 
f the masses."* 

The Congress greeted Lenin's proposal with loud applause. The 
Decree on Land was passed with only one vote against and eight 
abstentions. Life had fully confirmed Lenin's brilliant scientific insight. 
Subsequently the peasants themselves abandoned the "labour" and 
"subsistence" standards, according to which the land was distributed 
among the farms, and in response to the call of the Communist Party 
voluntarily adopted collective forms of farming on the nationally- 
owned land. 

Lenin's Decree on Land was of the greatest importance in the 
Bolshevik Party's campaign to win over completely the Russian 
peasantry to the support of the working class and in consolidating the 
victory of the socialist revolution. Later Lenin was to say: 

"That is exactly how the Russian proletariat w on the peasantry from 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and won them literally a few hours alter 
achieving state power; a few hours after the victory over the bourgeoisie 
in Petrograd, the victorious proletariat issued a "decree on land", 
and in that decree it entirely, at once, with revolutionary swiftness, 
energy and devotion, satisfied all the most urgent economic needs of 
the majority of the peasants. It expropriated the landowners, entirely 
and without compensation."** 

At the same session the All-Russia Congress of Soviets formed a 
workers' and peasants' Soviet Governmcnt-the Council of People's 
Commissars-with Lenin at its head. 

The Congress elected thc All-Russia Central Executive Committee 
consisting of 101 people and laid it down that this body could be 
augmented with representatives of the Peasants' Soviets, the army 
organisations, and also representatives of the groups that had withdrawn 
tr om the Congress. 

It was past five in the morning on October 27 (November 9) when to 
flouts of "Long live thc revolution!", "Long live socialism!" and the 
cn ai i 1S j 0f th ° Intemational e *e Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets 
f °ncluded its work. The Lenin decrees on peace and land and on the 
^ Ration of a Soviet Government which the Congress adopted played 
buil^ y r ° le in strcn 3 th ening the dictatorship of the proletariat and 
^^g^socialism. The Congress delegates immediately left for the 

** Y,'. L Lcni n< Collected Works, Vol. 26, pp. 260-61. 
Mid., Vol. 30, p. 265. 


provinces to help spread the workers' and peasants' power throughout 

In the period of preparation for and carrying out of the October 
Socialist Revolution the whole world saw Lenin as a brilliant theoretician 
oi Marxism, as the wise leader ol the Communist Party and supreme 
organiser of revolution. 

buring the revolution Lenin's genius reached its peak. With great 
scientific foresight he determined the correlation of class forces in 
Russia and in the international field, and gave the Party and the 
working class clear tactical slogans based on the laws of social dcvelop- 
ment. Under his leadership, the Bolshevik Party was able to merge into 
a single mighty revolutionary stream the socialist movement of the 
working class, the nation-wide movement for peace, the struggle of the 
peasants for land, and the national liberation movement of the opposed 
peoples of Russia, and to direct these forces towards the overthrow of 

Cautiously yet firmly, teaching the Party and the people and lea ing 
from the Party and the people, Lenin led them to the victory of the 
Great October Socialist Revolution. 

Lenin on the international significance of the October Revolution. 
Lenin saw the historic significance which the October Socialist Revolu- 
tion held for the whole world primarily in the fact that it ovcrihrew 
the political power of the bourgeoisie and the landowners, smashed 
their state machine, established a dictatorship of the proletariat, based 
on the alliance of the working class and toiling pcasantiy, over one- 
sixth of the globe, and affirmed the power of the Soviets of Workers', 
Soldiers' and Peasants' Deputies, which constituted genuinely popular 
rule and a higher form of democracy. "This epoch-making change has 
been made," Lenin wrote. "The era of bourgeois-democratic p. .u'lia- 
mcntarism has come to an end. A new chapter in world history-the era 
of proletarian dictatorship-has been started."* The October Revo! lion 
showed that it was impossible to put an end to capitalism and start 
building socialism without putting an end to the bourgeois state, the 
dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, without replacing it by the dictate - ship 
of the proletariat. 

Lenin pointed out that the October Revolution had for the first time 
in history liquidated the capitalists' and landowners' "sacred lights" to 
private ownership of the means of production. For the first time in 
history the working class, all the people of toil, had become masters 
of their country. All its riches, the land and its mineral deposit- the 
factories and the railways had become the property of the working 
people. f t 

Lenin saw a great achievement of the October Revolution in the lac 
that it had proclaimed and put into practice in Russia a policy ° 
genuine national equality, had proclaimed the right of the previously 

V. I. Lenin, Selected Works, Vol. 3, p, 700. 


essed p CO pl cs to their national sovereignty, had unfolded before 
°hm broad opportunities for economic, political and cultural develop- 
ment tov the strengthening of brotherly friendship on the basis of 
soC ialisni. 

The October Revolution had created the most just political and social 
vstem on earth, a system based on genuine equality, on real freedom. 
Its great and humane ideas inspire the working people, all progressive 
humanity in the struggle for a bright future. 

Lenin regarded the October Revolution as an inspiring example of 
the workers' and peasants' most resolute and dedicated struggle against 
the imperialist war, and for peace among the nations, "The first 
Bolshevik revolution has wrested the first hundred million people of 
this earth from the clutches of imperialist war and the imperialist world. 
Subsequent revolutions will save the rest of mankind from such wars 
and from such a world."* 

The socialist revolution in Russia shook the edifice of world capitalism 
to its foundations; the world had split up into two opposing systems. 

A state that proclaimed the great slogan of peace and put into effect 
entirely new principles in relations between peoples and countries had 
entered the international arena for the first time. Humanity had gained 
a reliable bastion in its struggle against wars of aggression, in its 
efforts to ensure peace and international security. 

Lenin regarded the leadership given by the Communist Party as a 
cardinal factor in the victory of the October Revolution. It was the 
Party, headed by Lenin, that was always in the vanguard of the 
working class, that armed the movement with a scientifically based 
programme of struggle, correct strategy and tactics, and political slogans 
that could be understood by the broad masses of the people. It was 
the Party that forged the alliance of the working class and the toiling 
peasantry and converted it into the invincible force of the socialist 
revolution. The Party struck a crushing blow at the Mensheviks and 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries, and exposed their complete desertion to 
the camp of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie. The people realised 
the counter-revolutionary nature of the Socialist-Revolutionaries and 
e Mensheviks and became convinced that the Bolshevik Party was 
only party that kept its word, that it was the only party that was 
waging a selfless struggle to abolish all forms of oppression and 
exploitation and to save the country from the catastrophe that 
threatened it. 

The October Socialist Revolution, Lenin pointed out, had a tremendous 
revolutionising effect on the working class of Europe and of the 
whole world, and raised the international working-class movement to 
a higher level. The proletarians, the working people, progressive men 
n d women all over the world acclaimed the victory of the socialist 
Solution in Russia. There was not a single working-class organisation 

* V. I. Lenin, Selected Works, VoJ. 3, p. 695. 


in the world, said Lenin, where the Soviet decrees on peace, on land 
on the nationalisation of the banks, and the other decrees of October 
were not greeted with enthusiasm. The graphic example o£ the new 
socialist life being built in Russia fired the hearts of the working people 
in all countries. The October Revolution conclusively proved fjj e 
Marxist truth that the principle of proletarian internationalism is a 
law of the development of the international working-class movement 
the prerequisite of all its victories. 

The socialist revolution in Russia delivered a very powerful blow 
at the colonial system of imperialism. As Lenin said on many occasions 
the First World War and the October Revolution awakened the Hast 
and made it once and for all part of the general flood of the w d 
revolutionary movement. By setting up a Soviet republic on the junuion 
between Europe and Asia, between the West and the East, the Oct ; c: 
Revolution rallied to its banner the proletarian-revolutionary socialist 
movement of the West and the national liberation movement of the 
peoples of all countries oppressed by imperialism. 

The socialist revolution in Russia opened up a new era in the history 
of mankind-the era of the collapse of capitalism and the assertion of 
a new, socialist society. It "has charted the road to socialism £01 the 
whole world and has shown the bourgeoisie that their triumph is 
coming to an end".* 

The ice is broken, the way clear, the path blazed-was the terse and 
vivid phrase that Lenin used to define the international signincaiv.e of 
the Great October Socialist Revolution. 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 28, p. 44. 

Chapter Ten 


Victory Will beloilg only to ihost' who haw faith in the people, 
those who arc hummed in the Iife-giritig spring of popular 


A new period in the life and work of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin began with 
the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution, Now that he was 
at the helm of the proletarian state, it was his task to lead the Bolshevik 
Party and the Soviet people in the struggle to accomplish the historic 
tasks of the dictatorship of the working class, to build socialism. 

A new type of statesman, Lenin was a statesman of the new, prole- 
tarian, socialist type. It was the first time in history that a Communist 
Party leader, a leader of the working class, a revolutionary Marxist, 
w ho evolved government policy on a scientific basis, who had a 
Profound knowledge of life and understood the innermost thoughts and 
Inspirations of the people, had taken the helm of state. Lenin had 
& °undkss faith in the creative abilities of the working people and he 
rel ied on them. He was very close to the workers and peasants and 
-°yed their unlimited trust and support. Lenin's brilliant command of 


theory, his political wisdom and Insight were combined with a geniu s 
for organisation, iron will power, courage and daring. 

Lenin's versatility and his tireless energy as leader of a rulin Q 
Communist Party and head of the Soviet Government were astonishing 
He took in all aspects of the life of the Republic of Soviets. He directed 
political, economic and cultural work and foreign policy. He guided the 
work of public organisations, took an active part in congresses 
conferences, meetings, spoke at factories and visited villages. Lenin 
combined an immense amount of organisational work with theoretical 
study and his writings at this time dealt with some of the most important 
problems involved in socialist construction. 

When they started building an entirely new way of life the workers 
and peasants of Russia were faced with enormous difficulties. As Lenin 
had foreseen, the proletarian revolution had first triumphed in one 
country, and the Soviet people had to build socialism in conditio; s of 
hostile capitalist encirclement, The bitter resistance of the deposed 
exploiting classes, Russia's age-old technical and cultural backward., ess, 
and the state of economic dislocation in which the country found itself 
were grave obstacles to the fulfilment of their task. 

But the greatest difficulty of all was that the path to socialism had 
never been trodden before. 

Lenin was undaunted by these difficulties. He was convinced that 
the Communist Party, which had undertaken the immense responsibility 
of ruling the country, of reorganising the lives of millions of people 
on the basis of socialism, would honourably fulfil its historic mission. 
He knew that the people were behind the Bolsheviks, and in this he 
saw an inexhaustible source of strength for the Party and the Soviet 
state. He showed that the initiative of the people, the creative energy 
of the workers and peasants would find the most suitable forms and 
methods for governing the state, building a socialist economy and 
developing culture. The intelligence of tens of millions of create:'... he 
said, would produce something infinitely higher than the greatest vision 
of genius. Only the collective experience of the people could point 
conclusively to the specific measures needed to bring about the socialist 
transformation of the country. 

In working out the programme for the building of socialism the 
main outlines of which he had drafted before the victory of the Oc'.ober 
Revolution, Lenin proceeded from the principles laid down by Marx 
and Engcls. "Let us consult Marx," Lenin liked to say, when the Party 
was confronted with a difficult problem. At the same time Lenin 
repeatedly pointed out that for all their brilliant powers of prevision 
the founders of scientific communism could not have foreseen all the 
intricate problems that were bound to emerge in the epoch of the 
building of a new society. At the outset of the socialist reorganisation 
of society, we, Lenin said, could not know "the forms of transforma- 
tion, or the rate of development of a concrete reorganisation". 

Guided by the practical experience of the struggle for the victory 


ialism, Lenin tirelessly developed the ideas of Marx and Engels 
S °rning the transitional period, concerning socialism and communism, 
C °!Trjroduccd creative solutions to the problems of the theory and 

, tice of socialist construction as they arose. It must be stressed 
this is true not on ^ °^ Lenin's new conclusions and propositions 
erning the general problems of scientific communism. The socio- 
C °onomic measures evolved and put into practice by the Party under 
Tnin's direction were also a massive contribution to Marxism. Lenin 
tudied the creative abilities of the people, the process of consolida- 
tion of the new system, discovered the laws of the transition from 
apitalism to socialism, carefully noted everything progressive that 
the working people created, generalised from their experience, and on 
this basis planned the building of a socialist society. 

Always regarding revolutionary theory as a guide to action, "as the 
basis of actions to be undertaken", Lenin pointed out that after the 
conquest of power by the working class, in the period of building 
socialism and communism the practical activity of the bulk of the people 
and the organisational role of the Party acquired particular significance. 
It was a remarkable fact, he stressed, that the tasks of the socialist 
reconstruction of society, which had previously been dealt with on an 
abstract, theoretical plane, were now being tackled for the first time by 
the proletariat of Russia and its Party directly, on a practical basis. 

In the epoch of building socialism and communism there is a shorter 
time lag between the theoretical study of the problems involved in 
building the new society and their practical solution. It must be under- 
stood, Lenin wrote soon after the establishment of Soviet power, that 
"the whole thing now is practical work; that the historical moment has 
arrived when theory is being transformed into practice, vitalised by 

practice, corrected by practice, tested by practice "* Lenin's whole 

activity is a splendid example of the indissoluble unity between 
revolutionary theory and revolutionary practice. 

Defeat of the Kerensky revolt. Soon after the victory of the October 
armed uprising Lenin, who was utterly absorbed in his work, took up 
permanent residence in the Smolny, where the leading bodies of the 
Party and the Soviet Government had their headquarters. Lenin and his 
wife were allotted a room on the first floor. Lenin's study and the offices 
°f the Council of People's Commissars were on the floor above, and it 
^as here that the Council's meetings and most of the conferences of the 
Party Central Committee were held. At the Smolny, Lenin wrote many 
°' fte historic decrees and appeals of the Soviet Government, received 
numerous delegations of workers, peasants and soldiers from the front, 
as well as Party and Soviet officials, who came to see him from all 
P^ts of Russia. " 

Fj*om the Smolny Lenin guided the vast activity of the Party and the 
0y iet Government in building the socialist state and the new life, in 

* v - r. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 413, 


defending the gains of the revolution from its internal nad extern ] 
enemies. As Krupskaya recalled later, the tempo of the work was tre- 
mendous. "No wonder that, when late at night he came behind the parti- 
tion that divided our room in the Smolny, Ilyich could not fall asleen" 
he would get up again to ring someone up on the telephone and issue 
some urgent orders, and when he did fall asleep at last he would talk 
business in his sleep. . . ."* 

In the days immediately following the uprising Lenin's attention was 
concentrated on beating off the furious onslaught of the counter-revolu- 
tionary forces which, as soon as the Second Congress of Soviets was 
over, made an attempt to wrest state power from the working class 
Kerensky, who had escaped from Petrograd in an American embassy 
car and joined the headquarters of the Northern front in Pskov, sent 
Cossack units against the capital under the command of General Krasnov. 

Thus it was the bourgeoisie and the landowners who started the civii 
war against Soviet power. 

On October 27, Krasnov captured Gatchina, creating a direct real 
to Petrograd. At this critical moment Lenin took charge of the defence 
of the revolutionary capital himself. He went straight to the headquarters 
of the Petrograd Military Area and demanded a detailed report on the 
situation at the front. When Podvoisky, who was in command, asked 
whether this visit meant he was distrusted, Lenin replied firmly: "r \ it's 
not distrust, the government of workers and peasants simply wis! es to 
know how its military authorities arc functioning." 

Under Lenin's direction, a plan for the defeat of the Kerensky-Kr snov 
bands was drawn up and put into effect. Lenin closely followed the 
operations of the army command, summoned representatives of the 
factories and districts to his office in the Smolny and issued instructions 
and directives to Party and Soviet organisations. On the night of Octo- 
ber 28, Lenin visited the Putilov Works to check up personally on the 
making of guns and an armoured train for the front. In those stressful 
times Lenin's characteristic ability to achieve absolute concentration of 
all the country's strength and resources at the critical moment showed 
itself to the full. 

On October 19, the Soviet Government crushed the co titer- 
rcvolutionary revolt of the military cadets in Petrograd. The next day Red 
Guard units smashed Krasnov's detachments at Pulkovo. The first anti- 
Soviet revolt was defeated. 

Rout oi' the capilulators and saboteurs. The enemies of the revol ution 
had staked heavily on undermining Soviet power from within, by using 
the Socialist-Revolutionaries and Mcnshcviks and also opportune* 
elements in the Bolshevik Party itself. The Mcnshcviks and Socialist- 
Revolutionaries acted as direct agents of the deposed exploiting classes 
in their struggle against Soviet power. Seeking to divert Russia from 
the path of socialist revolution and establish a bourgeois-parliamentary 

* N. K. Krupskaya, Reminiscences ol Lenin, Moscow. 1959. p. 415. 




they demanded the formation of a new, so-called "all-Socialist 
S e< n'meiit" from representatives of various parties-"from the Bolshe- 
9°J e t0 tne Popular Socialists"-in which they would play the decisive 
*± Moreover, they refused to recognise the legality of the Second 
P al ' resS of Soviets, categorically demanded that the proletariat should 
i disarmed, that no resistance should be offered to the Kerensky forces, 
d that the troops of the Petrograd garrison be put at the disposal of 
the counter-revolutionary City Duma, etc. 

The Mensheviks' and Socialist-Revolutionaries' proposal to form an 
„ a jj_g oc j a list government" was supported by Kamcnev, Zinoviev, Rykov 
and their not very numerous supporters, who at the very height of the 
giggle with the counter-revolutionary rebels came out against the line 
of the Bolshevik Party. Still insisting that the victory of the socialist 
revolution was impossible in Russia, they demanded concessions 
£ principle to the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries and 
agreement with them at all costs, and maintained that if this was 
not done the Bolshevik Party would not be able to retain state power. 
When the various parties and organisations met to discuss the question 
of forming a government and the Socialist-Revolutionaries proposed 
making Avksentyev or Chernov head of the government instead of 
Lenin, Kamencv and Ryazanov actually considered it possible to con- 
tinue negotiations with the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries and 
did not categorically insist on Lenin's candidature. This supine and 
treacherous policy was extremely dangerous for the only recently 
victorious dictatorship of the proletariat. 

At a meeting on November 2, the Central Committee of the Bolshevik 
Party resolutely condemned these capitulators. A resolution on the 
opposition within the Central Committee, proposed by Lenin and 
passed by the Central Committee, stated that the opposition had aban- 
doned all the principles of Bolshevism and embarked on the path of 
sabotaging the dictatorship of the working class. In spite of the Central 
Committee's decision, the opposition kept up their line against the Party's 
policy. In the Bolshevik faction of the All-Russia Central Executive 
Committee Kamenev and Zinoviev got a resolution passed on the 
negotiations concerning the organisation of government that ran counter 
Jo the Central Committee's decision in that it admitted of the Bolsheviks 
having only half the posts in the government. With the support of the 
Left Socialist-Revolutionaries they then got this resolution passed at a 
Meeting of the All Russia Central Executive Committee. 
Lenin treated these actions by the opposition as an unheard-of breach 
Party discipline, as an attempt to demoralise the Party ranks. He drew 
P an ultimatum from the Central Committee to the opposition minority 
Remanding that they should adhere strictly to the Central Committee 

the 1Si ° ns and 

carry out its policy. Though the ultimatum was signed by 
att m . a j° r ^y °f tne Central Committee members, the opposition paid no 
n en ^jP n to this warning. Refusing to submit to Party discipline, Kame- 
V ' Zinoviev, Rykov, Milyutin, and Nogin announced their resignation 




from the Central Committee; the three last also abandoned their posts as 
People's Commissars. 

This treacherous conduct by a handful of saboteurs roused Lena's 
indignation. He wrote the message from the Central Committee "To All 
Party Members and to All the Toiling Classes of Russia", published i n 
Pravda, in which the Central Committee branded them as strikebrea' j rs 
of the revolution and emphasised that the desertion of a few cov 
would nob for one minute shake the Party or the unity of the masses 
supporting it. 

"Let the working people, therefore, remain calm and firm!" Lenin 
wrote. "Our Party, the Party of the Soviet majority, stands solid and 
united in defence of their interests and, as before, behind our Party stand 
the millions of the workers in the cities, the soldiers in the trenche tod 
the peasants in the villages, prepared at all costs to achieve the victory 
of peace and the victory of socialism!"* 

The capitulators were immediately replaced by people devoted to 
the cause of the working class. Proposed by Lenin, Yakov Sverdlov. one 
of the leaders of the Party, was elected to replace Kamenev as Chaiman 
of the All- Russia Central Executive Committee. Four new appoint meats 
were made to the Council of People's Commissars; G. Petrovs' y as 
People's Commissar for Internal Affairs, P. Stucka as People's Com- 
missar for Justice, M. Yelizarov as People's Commissar for Rail .ays, 
and A. Shlikhter as People's Commissar for Food. Lenin wrote later 
that the opportunist elements with their waverings towards agree nent 
with the reformists, Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolutionaries vould 
have brought disaster on the revolution in Russia if they had not been 
removed from ail responsible posts and kept in check by prole tarian 
distrust, vigilance and supervision. In a period of revolution, Iil em- 
phasised, not the slightest wavering within the Party was permissible, 

The Central Committee's message "To All Party Members a to 
AH the Toiling Classes of Russia" stressed that at the Second All-Russia 
Congress of Soviets the Bolshevik Party had won a majority an that 
only a government formed by this party expressed the will of the Con- 
gress and was a Soviet Government; the Congress had approved the 
Bolshevik composition of the Council of People's Commissars, Never 
theless, contrary to the allegations of the bourgeois hacks who were 
shouting in chorus about Bolshevik "intractability" and "intolerance , 
the Bolsheviks stated they would agree "to share power with t' ie 
minority in the Soviets, provided that minority loyally and honestly 
undertake to submit to the majority and carry out the program*n e * 
approved by the whole Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets, f° r 
gradual, but firm and undeviating steps towards socialism"." y n 
these conditions the Bolsheviks again invited the Left Socialistic vol"" 
tionaries to enter the government. After considerable vacillation, trie 
Left Socialist-Revolutionaries, afraid of losing their influence over ttl 

* V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 307. 
** Ibid. 


antry, entered the Council of People's Commissars in December 
i7 And it was they, not the Bolsheviks, who broke up this coalition 

1 017. And it was they, 
u walking out of the government after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and 
oing in t0 opposition against Soviet power. 
^ The Menshevik, Socialist-Revolutionary and Left Socialist-Revolu- 
. nar y parties continued to exist for a time. But all these petty-bourgeois 
arties disgraced themselves by collaborating with the deposed exploiter 
classes and the imperialist interventionists, by taking an active part in 
armed struggle against the people, against the Soviet Republic. When 
the civil war was over, the Menshevik and Socialist-Revolutionary 
leaders joined the counter-revolutionary underground or emigrated; 
many rank-and-file members of the Mensheviks and Socialist-Revolution- 
ary parties broke with their politically bankrupt leaders, and some of 
them, particularly those who were workers, later joined the Communist 

The fact that only one party, the Communist Party, remained in the 
country is thus explained by the specific development of the revolution 
in Russia, Only the Communist Party acted as the true champion of the 
interests of the working people, as their leader; only this party gained 
indisputable authority among the people and earned the trust and 
affection of the whole nation. 

In principle, Lenin was far from treating the one-Party system as an 
essential feature of the dictatorship of the proletariat. He emphasised, 
however, that even if several parties existed, the dictatorship of the